She was in front of me.
I could see that she had a large stroller.
It almost looked like a running stroller but I knew it was not.
I could see two little girls sitting in the front.
The mother had placed all of her items on the belt as it moved forward.
She was buying cute decorations for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.
She was buying things that little girls would love.
There was another little girl standing next to the stroller.
Three girls, I thought to myself.
I now understood why there were green St. Patrick’s Day necklaces.
From my vantage point, all three little girls looked so much alike.
So much so, that the cashier asked the mother if they were triplets.
No, she said sweetly but got interrupted when one of the little girls in the stroller began to cry.
It seemed that one of the things the little girl was holding got placed on the belt.
She wanted to hold it in her hand.
I knew what would happen: the cashier would scan it and then hand it back to the little girl.
That is exactly what she did.
The little girl was happy again.
The oldest sister was the protector.
She stood between her mother and her sisters like a sentry keeping watch.
Nothing was going to get past her.
They were her sisters.
She did not want them to cry.
She was the oldest and this was her job.
There was banter back and forth between the mother and the cashier.
There was quite a bit of counting; making sure all the items were there.
I kept hearing the number four as the items were counted.
I assumed there would only be three.
The cashier had no idea.
I had no idea.
There was another child in the stroller.
He was asleep but something woke him up.
There were four children.
Now I understood why the stroller was so big.
The cashier would need to amend her triplet question.
Quadruplets were more like it, since all four children looked identical.
What are their ages? The cashier asked the mother.
Well, I have two sets of twins; they are fifteen months apart, the mother calmly.
My goodness! Two sets of twins! The cashier repeated.
Now I was curious; I needed to see the little one who had been asleep the whole time.
That sleeping child was a boy.
The older set of twins were a boy and a girl.
The younger set of twins were two girls.
God bless you, the cashier said, as the mother smiled.
I thought of the days I brought all five of my children food shopping with me.
Five individual children with no sets of twins.
I remember when someone looked at me with five children and two shopping carts.
God bless you, they said with quiet a different tone.
It was as if to say, You poor thing; how could you shop with five children?
I remember my answer: Thank you; He has!
The cashier’s tone to this mother was truly a sincere, God bless you.
The mother knew it and was delighted; her smile said everything.
After the one little girl dropped her prized possession, the tears started again.
The second little girl wanted to hold her things as well.
The older little boy was now stirring.
The older little girl was still the sentry.
The cashier told the young mother how calm she seemed.
Oh, nothing fazes me any more! She said and meant it.
She was organized and calm.
Her children were well behaved, probably because they picked up on their mother’s stillness.
You’re doing a good job, the cashier said as the young mother pushed the stroller.
Thank you for saying that, the young mother said with her little sentry by her side.
She pushed the stroller expertly between the checkout lanes.
She pushed her stroller effortlessly to the front door of the store.
The cashier looked at me and I looked at her.
What a blessing, I said.
Can you imagine TWO sets of twins, fifteen months apart? The cashier asked me.
I have five children, I said, but I had five individual children!
We both laughed.
Another cashier walked towards us who had been watching from a distance.
Did that mom have two sets of twins? The other cashier asked.
Yes! They were fifteen months apart, the cashier answered.
What a blessing! The other cashier said.
All three of us stood there smiling.
You know, we need to do more of that, I said to both cashiers.
We need to encourage these young moms every chance we get, I said.
She sure could use the encouragement just to keep going, the one cashier said.
That’s the thing, I continued, all young moms need that encouragement just to keep going.
I guess you’re right, the other cashier said.
My cashier started to scan my few items.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)
All mothers need encouragement.
They have many plates spinning on a stick.
Many days consist of simply trying to keep the plates in the air.
If no plates fall on the floor, it is a good day.
That is a simple metaphor for a real life situation.
Mothers need to hear they are doing a good job.
Mothers need to hear that things will not be perfect and things will not get done.
Mothers need to hear that they are not alone.
All mothers need to hear that; not just the mother with two sets of twins, fifteen months apart.
All mothers need to be encouraged.
Mothers who have to leave their babies when they have to go back to work.
Mothers who are stuck in the house with sick children and ear infections that won’t quit.
Mothers whose husbands travel frequently and are left alone with the children.
Mothers who have children with special needs.
Mothers who are parenting alone.
Mothers who have no family nearby or any support group around them.
Since we do not know what each mother faces in her day to day life, let’s encourage them all.
Let us be kind, since we do not know the struggles they are facing.
Let’s be an encourager to the one who is raising the next generation.
Motherhood (parenting) can be a lonely job.
I am sure we can all think of a mother we can encourage.
Write her a note; give her a call; pat her back and tell her what an amazing job she is doing.
She does not have to be the mother of two set of twins to be amazing.
She can be a grandmother, a foster mother, an aunt, or a caregiver.
If she is responsible for children, she needs encouragement.
Be there for her; tell her that she is a blessing.
And watch her smile.