Dear Gentleman at the Grocery Store,
I'm always a little nervous when I'm out with my kids in the middle of a school day. Like they should probably be learning or something. Sure enough, as we piled out of the car, you noticed. "Hey, guys! No school today?" My stomach dropped.
And then my son said it. The condemning truth: "We're homeschooled." As though that answered it and sealed my fate. We homeschool, so we don't really do anything.
In my pride, I felt the need to add, "Yes . . . they've just come from their P.E. class!" Which was true, but prideful, nonetheless. (I resisted the temptation to add, "Let's go quickly, my darling children, so we can get sister to her art class . . . and then you must practice your piano!!!")
But sir, you just sipped your coffee, smiled at my not-learning-children and said, "That's great!" We went about our shopping, and as we all checked out you waved and told the kids to have a good day.
You patiently waited while I maneuvered the unwieldy cart between our two vehicles, gallantly letting me go first. I hoped I wasn't in your way, and you continued to gently smile, sip your coffee and say, "Take your time -- it's okay." You waited as my eleven-year-old son unloaded the bags from the cart, lining them up slowly and carefully in the back. (It took an eternity. I'm sorry.) You told him he did a good job, and you watched, still smiling, as he ran the cart back up to the store. It was as though you were swept back to your own boyhood (probably 70 years ago now) and you remembered that thrill of responsibility and the joy of making your mother proud.
I thanked you for your patience and said, "Have a good morning!" And you said the same to me. You waited, unhurried, and let me back my car out first. We drove our separate ways and I wondered. I wondered if you knew Jesus. It sure felt like you did. You were kind and patient, and you somehow knew what I needed to hear.
So thank you for not rushing through your morning. Thank you for encouraging me, for affirming me as a mother -- you might not even know that you did. And thank you for reminding me that Jesus always knows just what we need.
The Harried Mother With the Truant Children