The Lesson Of the Cans of Tomato Sauce

The day started perfectly, well almost perfectly.  I was woken by my cat, Toto's, annoying meows that had been plaguing us since we got back from vacation a week and a half prior and the sound of trash trucks outside.  I knew that even though the child (Alexandria) had not woken up yet, there was no way I would get any extra sleep that morning.  I groggily pulled myself out of bed and decided to take advantage of the quiet and do my morning exercises.  Alexandria woke up after doing 20 minutes of exercises and actually let me give her a bowl of dry cereal and a sippy cup full of almond milk while I finished my workout.  By the end, she was trying to do them with me (victory mom moment!).

That morning we had a play date scheduled with a very dear friend of mine, so Alexandria and I busied ourselves getting ready.  In previous mornings Alexandria showed interest while I fixed my hair and pointed to her own, saying, "Hair?".  As you can imagine, this filled this fashionista mama's heart with glee.  That day I put her hair in a ponytail and a head band.  After a few seconds, like most toddlers I know, she pulled out both rubber band and headband, throwing them on the floor.  We were already running later than I had planned, but I knew that my friend would understand as it is the tendency of stay at home moms to run late on various occasions due to similar events.  Eventually we were able to get all of the things that we needed into the car and be on our way.

The visit with my friend was filled with philosophizing on church, life, and child rearing.  There were plenty of opportunities to put the last one into practice as we corralled my 22 month old and her two little kiddos.  Hanging out at her house was a respite from the craziness of being a stay at home mom.  Our kids were definitely not perfect (neither of us would say that), but sometimes seeing the crazy times and the awesome times with someone else who goes through the same things really comforts you.  I couldn't remember a time when I hadn't left with a smile on my face. 

While we were there, I got caught up in the mama bonding, so we left a little later than we should have.  We had to stop at two grocery stores on the way home.  That was where things started to fizzle.  I was already sleep deprived, so a trip to the grocery store would definitely not to improve my energy level.  On top of that it was a Wednesday, which meant all of the seniors were out to get their discount.  What was supposed to be a short grocery trip turned into anything but that.  In the first store I waited (happily I might add) while the patrons blocked the aisles with their carts so no one could get through.  My patience burned out when about half way through the trip Alexandria wanted me to hold her.  It was no easy task navigating through a busy, cramped store with a 23 pound toddler in my arms and what had to be a 100 pound grocery cart.  No surprise to me, I forgot something after I had already gotten in a very long line.  A lady graciously told me she would save my place, so I took off with Alexandria in my arms navigating around customers to the refrigerator section, grabbed what I needed and ran back to the line.  Maneuvering around all of the people and aisles made me feel as if I had run a marathon.  When the woman saw I grabbed two things (that were in the same section) she made a comment, "OH, you got spinach and lettuce".  I wanted to say, "Really?", but instead I apologized.  The second store wasn't much better as someone didn't slow his car down to let us pass in the walking zone (this happened on the way in and out), Alexandria started crying huge crocodile tears in the store, and when I finally let her down she ran off instead of staying with me.  And then there were those two trains we had to wait for at the rail road crossing on the way home (one of the perks of living in Lyndon).

By the time I got home I was so exhausted.  Whatever good mojo my visit with my friend had given me was gone.  I basically wanted to curl up and go to bed, but I couldn't.  I had things to do for my "extracurricular" projects (what I call non mommy related stuff) and I had to make dinner.

 As I began to haul the groceries inside I noticed Alexandria trying to carry cans of tomato sauce towards the kitchen.  I knew she was tired (we had stayed out way past her nap time) and I knew that I had probably let her down more times than I could count that day, yet she wanted to help me.  I watched as her busy little hands carried can by can and put them where I asked her to.  Then she began to unload the cooler that had our lunch in it and put it's contents into the fridge that was already open.  Once I had finished putting away all of the groceries, I asked her if she wanted to help me put away the cans too.  She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, "Help?"  One by one we took the cans and I let her stand on the counter and watched as she eagerly put them in their proper shelf  (with a little herding from mama).  Can by can my heart swelled with pride at my beautiful baby girl.  She was teaching me a beautiful lesson.

I started that day with my own agenda.  I had a vague idea of how things were going to go.  I had things I wanted to do and chores I needed to get done.  There are days (not all, but some), I feel as if raising my child gets in the way of all of the other things I want to do.  I feel like she is personally out to get me and hinder my plans, all the while making me feel miserable.  She purposefully messes her diaper right when we get in the car or cries just to get on the only nerve that I have left.  She's not the only one I feel that way about either. I get angry at people who are driving in a way that I feel is ridiculous when all I really want to be is at the front of the line.  I hold grudges against strangers who seem to be rude at the grocery store.  And get put out at bakers in the grocery stores who are supposed to give our kids cookies so they will let us shop calmly but they don't.  I am the center of the universe and everyone should revolve around me, especially my child.

When I became a parent I began to learn how to give up the greatest thing that was hindering the happiness of my life:  myself.  When I look at the day through Alexandria's eyes all I see is a little girl who wants to learn about all different kinds of things (we learned wall last week and now she points it out every time we pass one), a little girl who wants to be cared for and loved.  And a little girl who wants to spend time with and learn from her mama.  The lesson of the cans of tomato sauce is that regardless of how our day has gone, my child is not trying to ruin my day (and honestly no one else is either, they all have their own problems), she just wants to know my love and help me know hers.  And even on those really hard days, that is really all that matters.  


  1. What a lovely post!!!! It's easy to see that you love Baby A very much, and she has a great momma!

    1. Thank you Emily. Parenting can be challenging, but I try to keep a cup half full approach...which isn't always easy to do, but all worth it.


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