Have you every spent $2.50 just to talk to another adult? I remember a few years ago, when my children were all under the age of five, I would haul them into the van, buckle them up, insert ear plugs to drown out whining and/or crying, and drive down to Dutch Bros. for coffee.
Sure, I needed the energy, and the children enjoyed getting out of the house for the most part, but what I really needed was to talk to someone about something other than diapers, nursing vs. formula, and nap times. As soon as I spotted the sign for the kiosk my whole day brightened up and even the children would squeal with delight. I would be getting my daily dose of energy and interaction and my children would each get a sucker. It was a great way to start the day!
It never failed that when I pulled up to the window there would be a young guy asking me what he could get for me and he always called me "honey". It wasn't the "honey" that warmed the cockles of my heart as much as it was that he talked to me nicely and he wanted to do something for me instead of me doing it for everybody else. All I had to do was sit there while he expertly made my drink, oh, and pay him money to do so. It was money, I thought, well spent.
I had long forgotten those random trips to Dutch Bros. until this last week. A sweet friend invited me to the church for a mom's group she and some friends had started in September. I wasn't going to go but my day opened up and I felt the Lord's urging to try it out. So, Ellianna, my five-year-old 'baby', and I ventured off to the mom's group. We left the peace of the parking lot and stepped into the chaos of baby land.
About twenty women, babies and children filled the great room. I stood planted to one spot, shocked by the noise and the fact that I had forgotten the constant sounds small children make. Over the next hour and a half I watched the women as they conversed, laughed, planned for a luncheon, ate, passed babies to each other, and generally enjoy each other's company. I had a wonderful time as I caught up with some of the girls and what they were up to nowadays. It went quickly and before I knew it I was on my way home, both Elli and I enjoying the silence of the van.
As I drove home my mind played a mental video of years past when I would drive home with just two small children after a morning at the Ladies Bible Study or some function or other. Logan would be babbling about wanting lunch and Garrett would be either babbling as well or screaming his head off. I would drive home, sometimes turn up the radio in hopes of drowning out the angry screams from the back seat, and plan what to make for lunch for the children. After eating the children would take a nap and sometimes I would too. My days were simple. They revolved around meals, nap times, and bedtimes. At the time life felt difficult and monotonous. I was elbow deep in diapers and knee deep in laundry with no end in sight.
Fast forward to the present. We decreased our monthly expenses on diapers only to have it increase in the amount of food we eat. I stand hip-deep in laundry since the clothes are no longer sweet and small, but instead long and bulky. My daily schedule no longer revolves around nap times, but around school bells and soccer practices. Conversations no longer involve them learning new words to say, but new words to not repeat ever again...And my prayers are no longer just "Lord, get me through this day," but also, "Lord, help my children to make it through this day safely."
When I pulled into my driveway I felt like I had taken a five year jaunt instead of a ten minute drive. I missed my boys, I missed the simplicity of life, but I didn't miss the crying. What I was surprised to miss was the getting together of moms. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had gathered with other young mothers and discussed baby things, laugh about the cute things children do, and swap ideas on how to make motherhood a little more bearable.
Yes, my life has changed dramatically in just five years, but there are some things that remain the same. I still need to gather with other moms and discuss issues we have with our children, I still need the friends that the Lord has blessed me with over the years, and I still very much need coffee...