Last Tuesday morning was an interesting morning. It all started out normal. The kids and I came downstairs and ate breakfast. Then they headed outdoors for playing with "garage toys". Bikes and stuff. I hear a woman's voice ask if their mommy was home and inwardly groaned thinking it was a solicitor. I was still in my pj's, just catching up with my internet life. The doorbell rings and I answer it gearing up for the overpriced magazine "help me get through high school in a safe environment" spiel. When I do open it, I find a woman standing there, not trying to sell me anything, but handing me a bag that has a jar of homemade freezer jam in it. (my favorite, by the way) She lives on the street behind mine and our yards are kind of kitty corner of each other.
Earlier in April while I was outside planting flowers, she had come by, frantic, wondering if she could walk through my yard to see if her dog had gotten under the fence. Later she brought her dog by and said that "Daisy" had squeezed through a different part of the fence and was trapped in another neighbors fenced yard. lol Daisy is smaller than a full-size cat. When she came back the second time, we chatted for a bit. We talked about houses and neighbors, kids, etc. Found out her name is Betsy. lol Mine is Becky. It was a nice conversation.
So back to Tuesday. The jam she had given me was in thanks for letting her go through my yard a couple times to find her dog. I told her it was no problem. She started talking about her days when her kids were younger. She has 4 kids, her youngest just turned 18. She told me stories about how frustrating and challenging it was, yet how much she enjoyed it. She told me she had been up all night with a sick baby and the following morning, after resting and taking it easy, a lady in her church stopped by her house "inspired to pray for her". Betsy said she wanted to say "Pray for me?! Why don't you help me clean?!" It seemed like she understood that moms can't (and shouldn't) have spotless houses all the time. And that there should be no apologies for that. She'd be the kind of person I would let into my house, toys and clothes scattered everywhere, and not feel like I would need to apologize for it. She actually could see into my living room and saw that very scene. Anyway. Towards the end of the conversation (upwards of 1/2 hour) she said she felt like she needed to come over and tell me all that. That having children can be hard, but it is wonderful too. Being a mom can be hard, but the joy outweighs the heartache. She asked if she could give me a hug. As we pulled away from each other, I saw tears in her eyes and I was truly touched by her kindness.
Being kind to others is a gift I think we can all give. It's not hard and it's free. I know I need to work harder at being kind and not so judgmental and critical. I'm grateful for that morning and for the understanding she helped me gain.