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Three Words

Dear Lady in the grocery store parking lot,
I knew the minute you said these three words:  “I’m sorry, but….” I needed to brace myself.
I was just steps from my car when you approached me to say “I am sorry but it is freezing out here!” and then you looked at my youngest sitting in the cart and asked him, “Are you cold?” and  “where is your jacket?”  and then you looked down and noticed he didn’t have on shoes.  Or Socks.

I think at the time all I could muster was “It was that or no breakfast – we are out of milk.”
I held my head low as I returned the grocery cart and gathered my child in my arms and made a dash of shame to the car.   Three words came to mind.  “I’m that Mom!”
I sat thinking what does that mean as I waited in the drive-thru for our food.  My kids were asking who was that lady?  Why did she talk to us?  My brain was firing with thoughts as we pulled in the driveway and my daughter put her hand on mine and said, “Mom, what’s wrong?  Did that lady hurt your feelings?”  I said, yes – she made me feel like a bad mom.  My daughter said “No, you are not a bad mom!  You are the best mom ever – even when you get mad its only for a few minutes!”  With one eyebrow up I look back at the shoeless, sockless, coatless, grinning kid who started all this and he just smiled and said “Mom, you are the best cooker ever!”  just as I grabbed the bag from Taco Bell to carry inside.
Then as we sat down to eat our dinner I thought, I wish I could have said more to her.  I wish I had the words right there in the parking lot.  At the time, I really didn’t even have the thoughts.
I wanted to tell her….
I woke up this morning to teach Zumba.
Then my family met me to decorate my 4 year olds classroom with Christmas lights to help out his teacher.  This is how we ended up with two cars – (this is important!)

After decorating, we drove to the Rescue Mission to drop off canned food that the Zumba Ladies collected at our recent Turkey Burn after Thanksgiving.

Then, we left my car at the school and drove 1 hour each way to my Mom’s house because today is her birthday and the kids helped her decorate her tree.
Then, we went to visit my grandmother who just got out of the hospital.  We only stayed briefly but I knew she would want to see her great-grandchildren.
Finally we arrived back at my car and it was there that my two youngest children decided they wanted to ride with me.  It was there that my youngest boy jumped in my car without a coat, without socks, and without shoes.
It was behind that steering wheel that I realized my gas light has been on for a while now and I should stop and get gas.  It was while pumping gas that the lights to the grocery store reminded me that we were out of milk.  It was while running in to grab the milk that I saw the bell and thought we could make a quick run for the border and finally head home.
You see, the plan was to head straight home.  But, I didn’t.  Then I heard these three words
I’m sorry!, but…..
and ….    then I thought these three words.
I’m that Mom.
I don’t think you meant any harm, and I am not upset.  It just made me a little sad.
And then, I walked in and found a present on my front porch from a friend and my heart warmed.

Then we all enjoyed warm chocolate chip cookies

all of us together, warm – watching a movie…

and finally we celebrate day 7 of “The Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp and we reflect on how God provides.
Three Words…. God Always Sees.
This morning I retweeted Pastor Jim Cymbala, “Folks all around us are fighting battles no one knows about.  God’s looking for someone who is selfless enough to say, whom can I help today?”
You see, “I’m Sorry, BUT…. I’m THAT Mom….the one who is walking around fighting battles no one knows about….  and, maybe just, maybe …. you are too.  God Always Sees….. even when we miss it.
Psalm 33:13-15  (NIV) From Heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.  

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