Something magical happened to me today.
Thursdays kids can eat free at one of our favorite local restaurants so I decided, since I'm flying solo without Matilda, a night out with the kids would be a welcome change from trying to prepare a meal with Snacks on my hip while Honeybadger and Melman hold a UFC style throw down in my sun room. That's not to say taking my trio out to dinner is easy, but it does involve less exposure to open flames. I picked the kids up from daycare and headed over to beat the rush, still in my work clothes. As per usual, Snacks wanted to be monkeyed on my hip sucking his thumb while I ordered and felt his drool slide down the front of my silk shirt. HB and Melman went to pick out our table (a.k.a. play "where's the meerkat" on each booth in the restaurant, disappearing below eye level whenever I asked them to get down only to pop straight up in the next booth over). Finally, I wrangled the Three Amigos into our table, got food in front of them, and was in the middle of asking HB to stop putting her potato chips in Snacks' nose when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a blond-haired, sun-kissed boy about 8 or 9 with his hands by his side. He looked me in the eye and said as simply as if he was stating his name "You are a good mom." And then he kept standing there, just looking at me. He didn't run away embarrassed or ask me to buy anything. Just kind of smiled and then turned and walked away. I scanned the restaurant and saw a woman holding the exit door open for him. Probably his mom. She kind of smiled too and then they left.
Maybe his mother took pity on me and sent him over to deliver her attaboy. Or maybe he overheard her say something that he thought he should share. Maybe he was doing homework for his vacation bible school class or working on a boyscout badge by spreading random acts of kindness. Or maybe he is just a thoughtful, kind, wise old soul in a sweet freckle-faced body. Either way, I was so dumbfounded that I'm not even really sure what I said to him. When I'm with my Trio of Toddlers, I get so lost in them that I often lose my ability to remember how to be a normal responsive human. I just hope the look on my face was enough to reinforce to him the power of his words and the importance to continue to spread that kind of thoughtfulness around.
I didn't think my crew had even noticed The Exchange until the drive home when Melman asked me between singing verses of his favorite song what the little boy said.
Me: "He said that I am a good momma."
Melman: "Oh. I think so too."
Honeybadger: "Me too...and you have pretty toenails."