I've managed to hold back and not say those words out loud, mainly because I don't want to die at the Target cash register, but also because I remember how I felt on the receiving end of that statement. Like, How am I supposed to cherish this? The toddler is having a meltdown in the cart, contorting his body and screaming because he wants out! out! out! and the older son is touching all of the candy on display at kids-eye level (there's a place in hell for the people who designed the supermarket check-out areas) and whining I want! I want! I want!
Now, I'm on the other side. I'm the parent of teenagers. I get it.
I fondly remember being able to "mom-handle" a screaming, flailing child into a five-point harness, whether it was the stroller or carseat, and go where I needed to go.
I lovingly recall telling my stubborn toddler who never willingly left the house that we were going on an "adventure" in order to get him to go on a hike. Granted, it only worked once, but it was one of a few tricks that used "adventure" and the words "secret," "special," and "surprise" to get my son to do what I needed, like asking if he wanted to go the "secret-secret" way to preschool. The ever-changing route took twice as long but eased the fight right out of him.
I reminisce about how inexpensive it was to please my children: a trip to the park, waiting for the train, watching the trucks at a construction site.
So, the next time a little old lady touches your arm to get your attention and opens her mouth to say those three words you know are coming but really don't want to hear, please don't punch her in the face. Your bickering, misbehaving children are bringing back fond memories for her.
Also, she might be me.
The Well-Crafted Mom