I honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to share a very special story.
Yesterday I had a wake up call. I was smacked in the face with how blessed I am.
Ever since I started working full time I've had moments I feel disappointed. I'm grateful for my job, and as a mom, to be working in a school, there is no better schedule. But even with how much I love being a school secretary I have my moments. I'm not home to style my daughter's hair weekday mornings or to drop off my three younger kids at school. I also lost the job of school pick up to my husband.
I admit there was some resentment.
Three days of the week, my daughter leaves for gymnastics practice before I even see her face for the day. I don't get my school updates or cuddles before 9pm.
Que a tad more resentment.
It's easy to miss being home to bring them to school and pick them up, bake and clean and do all the stuff I did before I worked full time. I should pause here and say I get snow days, delays and every school holiday. So I kind of feel like I shouldn't even say I work full time. I work 3/4 time. That's more the truth.
Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with one of our school aides. I've spoken with her before, notably on black Friday at 4am in the bookstore. She was working the register.
Obviously this took me a tad by surprise although I know many people work two jobs. And in retail, you work Black Friday. I've done it. I figured she wasn't married because she told me how she works the second job for her benefits since she doesn't get them through the school.
She continued to tell me about how many hours she works, how she lives 30 minutes from the bookstore but she needs the second job until the school gives her a position that offers insurance. I'm going to admit I make assumptions about people, and my assumption was that she was single, never married and working two jobs to support herself. Not easy.
Last week, this aide came into my office and asked if I wanted to buy a hoagie to support her son's boy scout troop.
My mind began spinning. My assumptions were all wrong and suddenly I felt a deep sadness because I know with her schedule she had it a lot tougher than I ever thought a few weeks prior. After more conversation she told me about her son, who is seven. About how they live with her parents since her husband left two years ago. How she went from working three jobs to the two she has, and she sees her son 45 minutes a day during the week. Forty-five minutes. That was a lot to swallow. She picks him up from school, does his homework with him and leaves for the bookstore. She gets home at 10:30pm after he is in bed. She does this Monday through Friday.
And she works a full day Saturday.
All of this had me thanking my lucky stars that my worries are styling hair before school. I can't even begin to imagine, as a mother, missing my son the way I know she does. Missing all the time with him and the milestones and the special, small moments. She feels blessed to live with her parents because her son is never left with a sitter. But I could see the tears swelling in her eyes when I asked how hard it was to have that kind of schedule.
We never know someone else's story. As mothers, we need to support each other and build each other up because we are all doing the best we can. We're all trudging through each day praying our kids are safe and we're not screwing them up. I work with a mother who works two jobs and doesn't put her son to bed five nights a week. She doesn't give him his before bed kisses, and she doesn't even get to make his weekday dinners.
Yet every day she comes to work, smiling and working one on one with an autistic child in our system. She follows him, eats with him and calls for help when he runs through the halls.
Knowing her has humbled me and made me count my blessings. As I sit here blogging because I'm on a two hour cold delay, I realize how lucky I am. I styled hair this morning. I even made cinnamon rolls. And all I can think is how she got to spend two extra hours with her son this Friday, which makes me smile ear to ear.
Mamas, we're a team. Today put away the judgements because that mom that is never at school parties or pickups? She may be living a similar existence to the one I just told you about. And more than anything, these special moms deserve our love and support. Spread love. Be supportive. Hold your snappy comebacks and glares. Make today, and every day, about playing as a team.
Find a mama and tell her how awesome she is. You'll make her day.