I know I’m a mother, but my mind is still on what happened yesterday in Walmart. That’s right. I ventured out because I needed a prescription.
My husband had been taking all the risks. I knew it was my turn, long overdue. What risks, you may wonder, since I’d been home far longer than 14 days in a row? The risk of picking up coronavirus and passing it on to someone who dies from standing too close to me.
You know, of course, that’s why so many are staying home, right? They know it’s bigger than themselves.
What I saw at Walmart was that 60% (my guesstimate) of the people were unmasked. I was surprised. I have no idea how to read that.
Worse for me was how I struggled with who I became behind my mask. I couldn’t talk. Like not enough air. I practically lost my voice. At the pharmacy, I had to repeat my name and address. When I was asked if I wanted to pay there or in the store, I motioned to the other side of the store.
Then I walked over to the other side to take a look at the meat counters. I wanted to see if what people were talking about was true at my Walmart, too. Bins that once held beef and pork stood empty. Just bare metal bins. But every aisle, filled with people.
Beef and pork, not my thing, but that’s not the point. I live in a land of plenty, and there was no beef, no pork. Looked like plenty of chicken, plenty of fish.
The people who were bubbly and laughing, here and there, were not wearing masks. Their faces, set free. Mine felt pinched and uptight, throat constricted.
I bought potatoes, onions, bananas, and more, but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
So why do I bother to tell you this, when I want to be telling you about my two wonderful sons who gave me crazy-making moments and sweet delights as they grew up?
Because the little girl in me was highly affected in Walmart yesterday by what I saw.
Most don’t even know I parent a little girl who lives inside of me. But I do. You don’t see her, but she’s there. She has lived inside of me all my life. She carries all of my feelings, and I either take care of her or I don’t.
True of all human beings.
Last evening, I told my husband about what happened to me in Walmart. I asked how he feels when he enters such a place, wearing his mask. He said, "I feel like I can get away with anything, I’m hidden, no one will see what I do. I feel confident and cocky, like a cowboy wearing a black hat!"
"Not me," I told him. "I feel like a nine-year-old who’s in big trouble. She’s been put in a corner. Being punished, but she’s not sure why."
I thought long and hard about what I heard myself saying.
Today my eldest son called to talk, to tell me he had ordered a book for me, but it would be late. He asked, "How’s it going?" I told him the entire Walmart story from my reality. He listened intently, then said, "Mom, maybe your inner child needs something from you."
Oh my, my, my.
"Maybe so," I said.
I let him counsel his mother. Together, we made a plan for me to pray and offer my time behind my mask to God. Pray over my mask, too. I needed to let it become a covering, just another part of the armor of God in Ephesians 6: 11-18. Part of the equipping of a God-believer, part of staying safe, part of dealing with the enemy.
Instantly, I felt better. A blessing for the mask. A blessing for the little girl in me. A blessing and protection.
A gift to his mother.
The younger son? He brought food, surprises from his brother and himself, grandchildren, and cards. His words, his children’s words—straight from the heart.
Had his work not closed down weeks ago, he couldn’t have done any of that. Mother’s Day used to be the biggest day in the restaurant world.
Maybe the best present is not the hurly-burly fun. Maybe it’s how they love and honor me—year in, year out—and the ways they treat me.
Don’t misunderstand. Their lives are not perfect, nor is mine, but I think it’s safe to say we value the relationships we have with one another.
No one is bailing out. We have had to take time-outs from one another before, but no one gives up on the other one. Not a feeling, but a decision. A commitment.
You mothers out there, don’t give up on anyone. I hope you had a good Mother’s Day, too.
P.S. Kindest readers, thank you for your shares, comments, purchases. Grateful. The books listed below are linked to their Amazon pages.
A photo of Pat Durmon (Patricia Bland back then)
when she was 10 years old and full of feelings.