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Another Lesson Learned The Aums Way

by Christine@TheAums on May 23, 2012 · 18 comments

If you read my Twitter bio, I describe myself as an SAHM (Sometimes At Home Mom) being raised by my four children.

Case in point:

My kids and I were walking downtown this morning. Correction. We were slowly crawling underwater, against the tide, with heavy weights strapped to our bodies trying to get from point A to point B. That pretty much describes what it’s like to “run errands” with four kids, and whoever made that phrase up did not have children because there is no such thing as running errands when the kids tag along. It’s more like meandering, or attempting errands at best.

So I’m in a hurry, I’m trying to rush my kids along, and just as we had fiiiinally started picking up some momentum, we passed by a woman who asked me for spare change. She mumbled and I had to slightly pause to make sure she was talking to me because I hardly ever get asked for change when I’m walking down the street with four kids. I usually get a wow-I-thought-I-had-it-bad or a hey-do-you-want-to-borrow-my-sign kind of look.

Rather than fumble through my purse and stop the momentum, I kept walking and called out that I would catch her on my way back. I meant it, too, but all I had on my mind in the moment was walk walk walk walk walk walk walk.

As we inched closer to our destination, my kids asked me questions about the woman and I gave them very matter of fact answers. She asked for thirty cents. I don’t know what she wants to buy with it. I don’t know if she has a home. I don’t know if she is someone’s mom.

At last, we made it! We shopped! No one broke anything! No one whined on the way out!

On our way back to the car, I had a very mission accomplished feeling that no dawdling toddler could take away. My kids were actually walking fast, excited with our new homeschool purchases, and my mind had completely moved on to the next orders of business for the day.

“Uh, mama? Aren’t you going to give that woman some change?”

D’oh! I completely forgot.

But my kids, who I’m always reminding to do the silliest of things like make sure you unroll your socks before putting them in the hamper, they kept her in mind the whole time. So I fished through my purse, found a quarter for each and told them to hand it to her with a smile.

She was nowhere to be found. We even looked down a few side streets with no luck.

And that there was the lesson, folks. They didn’t need to lecture me to get the point across. In that moment, so many things bothered me about my actions. Why didn’t I take the time…to give her change in the first place…to at least tell her we’d be back in about 20 minutes…to not assume that she had nothing else better to do but wait around for us and our change.

It was a missed opportunity to treat a fellow human being as important and deserving of respect.

Thanks, Aumies. You’ve done it again. Now can I just let you know that there’s more to raising me than teaching me life lessons. Please don’t forget  I also need food, clean laundry, and plenty of dark chocolate and wine vitamins!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

grandma May 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

Oh those little Aumies……….I just love them!!

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Jessica May 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Oh, what a wonderful lesson. It’s amazing how our children can do that for us. I think parenting is not only exploration in tests of patience and love, but it’s also an exploration into self. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve thought more about why I’ve done things and how I do things, now that I have children who are watching my every moves.

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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 3:09 am

Exactly, Jessica. I’ve always reflected and written my feelings, but now with kids, I can hardly keep up with the lessons and self-revelation.

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Runnermom-jen May 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Seriously, I want to be like you when I grow up. And I mean that in a REALLY good way :)
You Aumies rock!! Maybe you’ll see her again sometime soon.
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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 3:12 am

Thanks, Jen…and that’s true, I have been keeping an eye out for her, but the sad reality is that “she” is everywhere.

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liz @ The Six Year Itch May 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Those Aumies such good folks. Don’t beat yourself up about it, though. Maybe, on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re always caring for others, do you ever really care for yourself? That’s an important lesson too. Just a thought.

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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 3:15 am

…and now, Deep Thoughts, with Liz Henry….;)

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Amber May 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Awesomeness. If I see a woman on the street with a sign saying she needs food for her children I will buy a bag of groceries and give them to her. I’ve also been known to buy subs and burgers. I’m always telling my three to treat others the way you want to be treated.

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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 3:06 am

I love that, Amber. Thanks for the inspiration to take more action.

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Stasha May 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Oh I feel you. I am humbled by my little man every day. Your children are wonderful.
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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thank you, Stasha.

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Brandi May 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Isn’t this what they’re here for? To remind us about humanity? Children, with their innocence and wisdom, are such a blessing to us, and help to keep us grounded. God bless the Aumies…and their parents who plant the seeds.
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Christine@TheAums June 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

God Bless, Brandi!

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Sheila Pai May 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Oh goodness, mama. You’re getting me. It feels like my whole life these days is about making these decisions — get life’s “work” done (cleaning, cooking, errands) or get MY “life’s work” accomplished (loving my children, respectfully, compassionately, truly). Rarely am I let down if I stop and learn to slow down in the moment. Maybe there IS a reason why kids move so slowly…..
~sheila
alivingfamily.com
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Christine@TheAums May 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Your perspective is pure parenting brilliance, Sheila. Thank you. Let’s save the running for exercise and the meandering for the kids.

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Elizabeth May 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I 100% get your feelings of guilt (I assume that’s what it is) for missing an opportunity to help a fellow human being. I admit that I don’t usually pay attention when adults ask for money. But one time, I was walking out of Toys R’ Us, and there was a scraggly couple with a dirty toddler in a stroller and they asked for some money. I literally didn’t have any cash on me and my automatic refusal to give money to panhandlers stopped me from thinking much deeper about the situation. However, when I was pulling out of the parking lot, I again caught sight of the kid, and it hit me hard… the guilt. Right in front of me, there was a kid who might be hungry, might need diapers, and here I was in a position to help but hadn’t. As I got on the highway, I started thinking about all of the things I had in the car (I am a stockpiler; I don’t like to be without anything for the boys when out and about) and I realized that I had several things that I could have given them to help their child (who was about the same age/size as my second child) be more comfortable and less hungry: fresh clean diapers, wipes, snacks, water, an extra sweatshirt and blanket, and probably 15 other miscellaneous things. I almost turned around but I needed to get home for whatever reason (probably to nurse Brandon). And it would not leave me, the guilt that I had missed a chance to help a baby. And I vowed I would never do that again.
Within a month, a woman approached me in the Safeway parking lot as I was leaving with my groceries and asked for money to go toward a campsite. I think I looked at her strangely (since when do people beg for money for a campsite?) and she caught on to how odd her request was and said that she was homeless and wanted to have a safe place for her kids to sleep. I was like, “You have kids? Send them over here. I have no cash but I have some food for them.” She sent them over and I rummaged through my grocery sacks and gave them as much as I could without starving my own kids.
So my kids weren’t physically present to teach me in those moments but having them has taught me about the vulnerability of them. They can’t take care of themselves. And that day at Toys ‘R Us taught me that even though we are not rolling in any extra money, I will never miss an opportunity to feed a hungry child again.
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Christine@TheAums May 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Wow, Elizabeth, you could/should turn that into a post. And I’m learning so much from you and other readers who go beyond change from the bottom of your purse. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Elizabeth May 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

Ha, I was thinking as I was typing it how it’s basically a post! I may add it to my blog someday. Your kids sound so sweet, you must be doing a great job with them!
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