Just yesterday…

I was absorbed in three different shopping lists – making piles in my cart for myself and two other people who needed me to get some groceries for them – so I frankly wasn’t paying much attention to the people around me. The store was not one I usually shop at so I was slow at making my way through the isles and finding what I was looking for. Shuffling through my three lists – it was hard not to backtrack. I wanted to actually leave sometime before tomorrow, so the lady ahead of me in the cereal isle was not really on my radar. As I looked up, I had an immediate flashback that hit me in the gut. It stopped me cold in my tracks. She was me. It was almost like looking at a photograph of a “Day-in-the-life” of Christi. No, she didn’t have a mop of red curly hair… it was more the look of exhaustion and almost quiet desperation that made her resemblance so striking. Like an old movie, the feelings and images came flooding back…

I was standing in Meijers, a tiny newborn son on my shoulder because he was hungry and screaming and my two little girls were in the shopping cart, ages 3 and 4, both of which had decided they also were hungry. They were arguing about who was touching who and I was desperately trying to hit the important things on my list and somehow get out of the store before tomorrow. The car seat was holding my groceries since the cart held my girls and it was NOT holding my son. I was pushing the cart awkwardly with one hand, trying to sooth Drake with the other, and grab things from shelves with the extra hand I didn’t have. I wasn’t paying a bit of attention to anyone around me but simply trying to survive the shopping trip. I was overwhelmed and nearly lost it as an older lady huffed her cart around mine from behind, obviously annoyed that I was ruining her quiet and leisurely shopping experience. I stopped and just stood there, watching her frustrated passing. My kids all were crying and I just stood there looking after her. I wanted to join them and the tears were very real and very close to overflowing. I wondered when it was she forgot what it was like to be me. I wondered if it truly was something I would someday forget… because in that moment, there was never going to be a day I wasn’t overwhelmed with simply existing and getting through one more day. I never slept as my newborn was in his growth spurt and ate round the clock without ceasing, my girls were active and healthy, both good things but tiring me out as i tried to also fit in a work schedule on top of life by doing transcription work from home. I could never imagine a day further in the future when my children would be leading their own lives, off at school, and out from under my feet and out of my arms.

But here I stood. And I had actually forgotten. I had forgotten how hard it was to simply survive one day at a time. I had forgotten how hard going to the grocery store was, and how much I dreaded it. And I sorta felt guilty about having forgotten. It was almost like I let myself down. I swore I would never forget, and I am always gracious to young mothers and try to be encouraging, but the honest truth is, you do forget. Life moves forward and new stresses take over where the old ones leave off. My days are still harried trying to fit everything in, keeping up with three kid’s schedules, homework plans, work, the house, and on and on. It’s just different. Someday I will forget this too. And while on some days that honestly brings me hope, it also makes me a bit wistful. Time is moving ahead and as hard as these days are, I want to grab hold of them and really savor them. They are slowly sifting between my fingers like sand. I cant hold on to them, and before I know it my harried days will give way to empty nest days and I’ll have more than just quiet shopping trips to get lost in my own thoughts. It will be quiet dinners, quiet car rides, and a quiet house. The elephants will no longer be running up and down my hallways and the monkeys will not be filling the walls with echos of laughter or even bickering.

I wanted to say something encouraging to the woman, but she had already turned the corner with her rowdy troops and so I was left to my memories. I finished my three shopping lists, headed out into the snow and was on my way in my quiet van. It felt like just yesterday that she was me… when did the ticking of the clock move time so far ahead? As I drove out of the parking lot I pledged to myself to savor every minute I am given – regardless how hard life is some days – so that I don’t miss even a moment. Before I know what’s happened, it will be another 10 years passing and my kids will all be gone on to their own lives. I promised my current self that I will consciously try to savor the chaos and treasure the never ending ToDo list that is my life. I said a little prayer of thanks to God for reminding me how far He’s brought me, and advance thanks for all He will travel through with me in the coming years.

Each day is truly a gift from Him. I don’t want to EVER forget that…


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