Yesterday, I went with my family to a cafe inside an all-natural market so that I could eat some spicy Peruvian Chicken Soup in hopes it would clear my sinuses. My husband had just fed the kids while I was out earlier in the day, so I decided that we could run up to the local market/cafe to get a few things, get the kids something to drink, and I could enjoy a quiet little meal.
A glass of whole milk, two lattes, one berry blue smoothie, and a cup of soup later, we were all sitting at a round table near the entrance. It was a peaceful afternoon in the market. People were shopping for their gluten-free, vegan, and homegrown goodies while my little brood was hanging out in the corner.
After a few moments of delightfully enjoying our outing, our peace turned to chaos.
My daughter decided that she was hungry and began to let us know. At first, she started with a hum – loud, monotonous hum. Next, she started a chant of sorts that went something like this,
“I’m hungry…hummmm…I’m hungry.”
At first her voice was quiet, and during this time, I reminded her that I just a bought a $5.00 smoothie (of which I could make at home much cheaper), that she needed to drink. Again, the chant started back up, but this time it was little more escalated.
The twenty-something chic behind the cash register looked at us with concern. I wondered, “Does she think we do not feed her? We are at a whole-foods cafe, for heaven’s sake. Does she think that I am the only one who eats in this family?”
During this time, I again acknowledged the barely touched smoothie sitting in front of my daughter, and reminded her that daddy had just fed her lunch before we left. But, to no avail, my sweet child (who really needed a nap), decided to lunge towards the smoothie, and began to yell,
Over and over again.
My momma-like reflexes grabbed the luscious blue smoothie before her little hand could slap it down. She threw her chair back, stood up, and began to holler about her hunger to anyone who would listen.
Here’s the deal. I know my daughter. I know that she was, indeed, not hungry. I know that an order of food would have been a waste of money. She literally just had a full lunch before we left. She likes the idea of eating at a restaurant, even though, she seems to miss the point of eating.
In an instant, the peaceful flow of consumers looking for their locally grown veggies, organic pastas, and spices that I cannot even pronounce, all began to look at us. I stood up next to my daughter, held her hand, and whispered in her ear, “Do you see that people are staring at you? You are a big girl who is going to start kindergarten soon, and this is not how big girls act. If you are still hungry, drink your smoothie.”
I sat back down, guzzled-down my super spicy, tongue-burning Peruvian Chicken Soup, smiled at the staring mild-mannered lady by the cash register, handed our youngest a cup to play with, advised my oldest to drink his over-priced organic whole milk, and asked my husband to kindly escort our daughter to the van.
In a manner equivalent to a sports team, we sprang into action, he swooped her up just before she could overturn the napkin holder on the table, held her in his arms, and carried her to the van as she was wailing out. I sat there for a minute, took one look around, and then finished off my spicy, but delicious, Peruvian Chicken soup.
I was so distracted by the irruption of our little outing that I had forgotten exactly what I went there to buy. I walked around the market with my oldest and youngest, asked a random question about eucalyptus to some kid with wavy brown hair, debated on buying some locally grown coffee beans, and then headed out to the van to my much calmer daughter (who still had not finished off the bright blue expensive smoothie).
Today, while watching my daughter in her activities, and thinking about what had transpired yesterday, I was gently reminded that I have never been a perfect daughter. I, too, have exclaimed, “I’m hungry! I want more!”; even though, I have been surrounded by plenty. I, too, have needed someone to hold my hand, and remind me of my own actions. I, too, have had people stare and watch my actions with concern and question.
I was reminded today that the perfect thing about any of us, including our children, is that we are not perfect. We are not perfect. We mess up. We embarrass ourselves, and others. We disappoint our parents. We worry our Heavenly Father. We waste, we hurt, and we hunger.
We are works in progress.
Today, the Lord settled in my heart that in our imperfections there is the hope of something new.
Our little outing to the all-natural market turned out to be a test in patience for my husband and I. It also served as a reminder that the most important task I have, and will ever have, is found in the raising of my children. Nothing remotely compares to it. And, in this task, I have the responsibility of influencing their walk with the Lord.
Just like I am not, and never will be, a perfect child, I should never expect my children to be. There will still be moments when I will scream, “I’m hungry, Lord. I’m hungry!”
And, as He has always done, He will calmly take a hold of my hand, remind me of who I am in Him, carry me as I wail, and still see my imperfect beauty.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Matthew 5:6 The Message Bible