I couldn't help but stare at her.
Standing there in the dollar spot of Target, a mama carrying/murmuring to what I assume was a brand new baby all criss-crossed and swaddled close to her chest, a tiny head barely peeking out. At her side, a little boy, probably around 4, happily checking out each bin (I feel you so hard, kid. This section is joy.) and running his hands over things with all the self control that a child that age old can possess while she chatted with him.
It wasn't anything special, necessarily, but it was just a sweet moment to catch.
I was close by and trying to decide how many votive candle holders one person needs (all of them), I wanted to give her a smile, tell her that her babies were precious, comment on her patience, maybe? Just something. Just an, "I see you, fellow mom, and you rock."
But I didn't. I grabbed 400 candle holders and left. Why? Maybe she could have used an encouraging word.
I think sometimes we hesitate to compliment fellow moms for one reason: we don't feel like we can. I know that isn't always the case, but occasionally the voice in my head says, "Who are you to tell anyone they're a good mom? What are you, some expert? Aren't you the one who only just a minute ago noticed that your toddler was nibbling on some random metal object?"
Yes, that was me, and heavens/hahahaha NO I am not an expert. What I do know, though, is that I need to quiet that voice, because we all recognize good when we see it, whether we perfectly apply it each day or not. I don't need to let my personal hang-ups prevent me from lifting up other mothers that I encounter through my day. In theory, I believe God puts people in our paths for a reason. In practice, I'm failing.
So this holiday season, I'm going to take a spin on the incredible RACK (random acts of kindness) that so many big-hearted people do, and I'm going to practice random acts of mom encouragement. If I see a mom holdin' it down, I'm going to tell her so. If her kids' manners are awesome, I'm complimenting them both SO HARD. I'm telling y'all this so I'm accountable, so I can't back out when I'm feeling unworthy of noting the good. We can always note the good. Also, please don't let me buy anything else for candles, because this is getting stupid.
Anyone with me, or am I going to be the only crazy lady talking to strangers at Target?