The other night after pictures, we stopped at Carl's Jr. for dinner and to allow the kids to run around and get some energy out. (Okay, I'll be honest...I bribed them with dinner out, if they behaved during pictures.)
There was another family in the play area, that I could tell was watching my kids out of the corner of their eyes. This family had 3 kids, but their youngest was about Bailey's age. After about an hour of play, I went into the play area to round up the kids and tell them it was time to go.
The mom and dad of the other family started asking me questions:
"You have five kids?" (Yep.)
"How old is the oldest? 8?" (Yeah and the youngest is 9 months.)
"Wow. So you had one like every 18 months?" (Umm...about every 2 years, but then a 15 month gap child snuck in there.)
"So you have 4 girls and 1 boy?" (Yup. Tried for a brother, got another sister...oh well!)
"I don't know how you do it! Is it really hard?" (Well, I don't know any different.)
Then they proceeded to tell me how cute they were and they liked watching them all play together. The dad told me that it's hard when they are young, but he promises that it will get easier.
It's people like them, that make my day. They were probably just making conversation and have no idea the impact they made on me. However, the fact that they acknowledged the hard work that I do and were friendly, left me with a wonderful feeling.
It's much like the older women that give me "that" smile in a store. "That" smile that says, "I've been there. I know what you're going through."
Sometimes, "that" smile is all that gets me through that shopping trip or sacrament meeting. It reminds me that I am trying my best...even if my kids aren't acting their best.
So, next time you are out and you see a mom struggling with her kids, don't just walk by her...make eye contact and give her "that" smile. Remind her that she's not alone and that you acknowledge that she is doing the best job that she can. Sometimes that's all a person needs. A smile to let them know, "I've been there. I know what you're going through."