There is a mom in my town with three children approximately ages five, three, and an infant who can't even sit up yet. I see her often... at story time at the public library, at the grocery store, at the pool, on walks... Every time I have seen her, she has all three children in tow. I know thousands of mothers accomplish this feat, but I don't, and therefore I stand in awe.
This mom always seems very calm and patient. She appears to be one of those beautiful souls who never yells or snaps at people in frustration. I can tell her children are well-behaved - or at least have learned to be well-behaved in public. At story time, they sit and listen but they also participate and giggle. At the grocery store the older two walk beside the cart nicely, obedient to their mom when she squelched their minor horsing around. At the pool, they jump and splash and play but do so without a shred of ornery. The mom sits on the edge with the shaded infant in her arms and watches, smiling. Calm... and always looking put-together to boot!
Once in the pool locker room I said to her, "I see you every where with those kids and they are so well-behaved!" She smiled and seemed surprised at the compliment. She said, "Thank you".
From the glimpses I get of this woman and her children, I'm very impressed. I'm impressed by her hauling her three children out in the world - often. I'm impressed at how well they behave. I'm impressed that even with the great behavior, they seem like happy, normal children. But mostly, I'm impressed at the aura of orderly serenity that surrounds the four of them.
I take my two children out in the world fairly often. My children behave in public, and they are certainly happy. I'm pretty certain we do not give the aura of calm and I'm pretty sure my Type A, high strung, always-worried-about-something personality is to blame.
For as much as I see this wonderful mother I'm sure we'll talk again soon. Maybe we'll become friends. Maybe I'll discover her secret to the feats I see her accomplish or maybe I'll find out that her bathrooms are filthy or she's a terrible cook... something that will counter the put-together motherhood I see. And maybe, just maybe, she could teach me how to find the calm.
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