By Lillian Michelle
My husband was working late, so the kids and I grabbed pizza for dinner. As we entered the shop, I noticed the gal in front of me was picking up the exact same food we had come in to order. I could tell because it was the current special: a large pizza that comes with a side order of garlic knots boxed in a mini pizza box. You also get a drink.
We watched the middle-aged store manager stumble over his words as he offered to “bag up” her pizza. He almost jumped over the counter to grab her choice of beverage from the refrigerator.
Lastly, he held the door open as she exited and helped her to the car. Obviously, he was trying to impress her. She was very attractive, actually. She wore a short-sleeved cotton summer dress with red and white pin stripes. Her long brown hair was soft and wavy. Most distinctively, her left ring finger was bare. I could see why he might have taken a chance.
I placed my order and was immediately advised by my three-year-old that she needed to potty… again! We went into the store next door to take care of business while we waited for our pie to bake. Elizabeth picked out a bag of gummy worms while we were in there. She has the best taste. While we were at it, I used the opportunity to pick up a box of tissues.
By now, the pizza was surely ready so we trudged back to the shop. As we walked in, I noted the manager from earlier standing next to the pick-up rack taking count of something. We made eye contact and he nodded at me, placed our food on the counter and then pointed toward the refrigerator. “Thank You,” he muttered, as he turned back toward the prep area to continue his inventory.
I grabbed my choice of soft drink and handed it to my three-year-old. She toggled her bag of prized candy around and struggled to carry the drink.
Pushing the door open with my bum, I carried my one-year-old on my right hip with the diaper bag across my chest. I used my left hand to balance the two pizza boxes. The bag with the tissues was dangling from this arm.
The soda was dropped a total of four times in transit and I had to literally kick the bag of gummy worms along. Still, we made it to the car. This event had me feeling all kinds of ways. I felt old and unattractive. I felt used up and invisible. Maybe, had I not been wearing an oversized Mac Truck t-shirt and black leggings, I would have felt better about myself. That is a true enough statement.
I think, however, that the reason I felt so particularly unattractive that day was because I also had graced our community with my hair coated in coconut oil. It has been dry lately and it needed to set a while longer.
Two lessons were taken away for me that day. First, I learned again something I already knew. We are unfortunately a society that judges each other based on our outward appearance (amongst other things). That is a whole other something.
As a mother, I tend to make sure everyone else is taken care of before I even begin to think of myself. This seems to be the case for many moms I have met. It is hard not to fall into a rut and lose yourself. If I do not want to feel invisible, I should do something about it. I need to make time to take care of myself. I am worth it. I am beautiful and I deserve to feel that way.
The second lesson was a little something about what I do not want for my children. Admittedly, I understand why the pizza shop manager wanted to flirt with the brunette. Hey, I’m human. It’s how he handled himself as a man… and a southern man at that! An opportunity arose for him to be of help to someone else and he blatantly ignored our struggle.
My prayer is that my children will go after their goals with all their might. Reach for their dreams and make them a reality. All the while retaining their values. Having a servant’s heart will bring more goodness and fulfillment to their lives than anyone can imagine.
I should mention what my husband did earlier that morning. I was frantically searching through a pile of clean clothes for any two socks that were at least close to the same color group for the boy child. My husband turned and kissed me, ever so sweetly, and said, “You are a great mommy, babe. I love you.”
Those little moments are the ones that remind me why it is totally fine that I walked around looking a hot mess. My husband loves me no matter how I look. My children do, too. I love them and that is all that honestly matters! In the end, it was a good day.