I took Pierce with me grocery shopping tonight. Any time I take just one child with me, they think it’s the best thing ever. They get chatty, giggly, and just love our “date” in the produce aisle. Pierce isn’t any different.
He’d holler “Dada! Dada!” and I’d say “No! Momma!” and he’d laugh and laugh and laugh. Repeat that about fifty times and you have a pretty good idea of what our shopping trip looked like.
After we’d just finished the exchange, yet again, a woman came around the corner and joined me in the toilet paper aisle. Taking in Pierce’s belly laugh, she commented how happy he was and said I must be a wonderful momma to have such a happy baby. “I bet he never cries,” she said. I couldn’t help myself. I snorted.
But as we walked away, I couldn’t help but think on her words. (A trip with one child to the grocery store allows for this. Thinking. What a concept.) Is happy children really what we’re after as mothers? As long as baby doesn’t fuss, I must be properly parenting him? Really, is that all I’m after?
Definitely not. Happy isn’t what life is all about. Being content, on the other hand, holds a a pretty good status. Being thankful, that’s a good one. Understanding our place, our God, our need for Him, that’s what I’m after when I teach my children. Ponderous thoughts.
But when Pierce tired of my outrage at his calls for his daddy a few aisles later, I took him out of the cart and hushed him. It made him happy. It made me wonder. How much parenting do I do just for appearances, and how much is in pursuit of a grander, better thing?
Then, I came home, put the baby to bed and the groceries away, and lost the quiet to be able to finish a thought without interruption. It was lovely while it lasted. Maybe, hopefully, I will parent more purposefully tomorrow, in pursuit of godliness, not stranger approval.