Yesterday I took the kids to the Aquarium. I knew we’d be gone for a few hours, so I packed up my backpack with all the things an experienced mother knows she needs to bring. For us that included the Sigg bottles each child got for Christmas, raisins – in two small containers because their ability to equally divide food seems to be proportional to the size of the item, gloves and hats in case we ended up playing outdoors, and all those other things you know could make the difference between a happy outing and a disaster.
While we were there, the kids had to use the bathroom. I had one kid in one stall, another in the handicap stall, and I went back and forth between them making sure that everybody got up on the toilets okay (why are public toilets so high off the ground?), cringing as the pants around their ankles slid up against the condensation-wet front surface of the toilet bowl. After positioning Daughter correctly I went back to check on Son. He’d said he had to poop so I sat him on the seat, but turns out he had to pee as well. From his precarious position perched high up on this adult-sized toilet he had no free hand with which to direct the flow downward…There was not only a puddle on the floor but his underpants, pants, and socks had gotten wet.
He was distressed. Not only had he made a mess (I think he tends toward a certain degree of perfectionism, as does his sister) but he was wet, too. His skin is sensitive, and he can’t stand the slightest bit of spillage on his clothing.
Sound like a disaster? Not for SuperMum! Because included in my backpack is a change of clothes for each child, a bag of wet wipes, sealable wet bags for soiled clothes, and a small towel to dry off legs that have been wet-wiped. It’s not that my kids have accidents very often anymore, but such an event can make a big difference in how the day turns out. I reassured my boy that, in no time, he’d be all fixed up.
As I got my little guy all cleaned up, dry and comfortable and we continued on with our excursion I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Did I solve world hunger? No. Did I set a new world’s record in downhill skiing? Nope. But I did turn one little child’s misery into comfort without ending our visit to a beloved destination. And THAT is one of those little triumphs that mothers around the world achieve every day, in a million little ways.
We may not be rocket scientists (though some of us do that, too!) but it takes a Mother to remember that the striped red mittens make his hands itchy so you need to pack the blue ones in case his hands get cold. Or to know that when the kids start screaming about which side of the car belongs to them, it’s really about hunger and nothing that a proffered snack can’t solve. Those are our Gold-Medal moments. And while it may seem that our heroic acts go unseen and unappreciated, know that there is a whole sisterhood of women out there who know that you are a Hero.