Back when I had two children, ages four and two, I remember thinking to myself, “When my kids get old enough that I don’t have to constantly scramble around taking care of them all them anymore, I want to make sure I take the time to help mothers who have little kids.”
I had no idea what, exactly, that would entail, and that was fine. But I felt strongly that I wanted to remember what that phase was like after I had moved out of it, and to help encourage other women who were going through it.
About a year ago, I was in line to get something at Target. I have no idea what, and I don’t even know exactly who was with me, although I’m pretty sure at least one of my kids (who at that time would have been ages 13, 11, and 8) was there.
A mother was juggling two little kids who were in the cart. Both of the kids were noisy and restless, while the mother was trying to pay. She looked tired. She also had that look that mothers of young children sometimes have when they’re in a public place and are worried that everyone nearby is having murderous thoughts about them and/or their children.
I remembered that there were some stickers stuffed in my purse that Benjamin had gotten at a doctor visit several weeks ago, but wasn’t particularly interested in. I dug them out of my purse and handed them to the Tired-Looking Mother, saying, “Do your kids like stickers?”
“Oh …” she said, looking both surprised and grateful (but still tired). “Thank you.”
Her kids were both delighted.
And I felt happy.
Shortly afterward, I thought to myself, “Hey, why don’t I just always keep stickers in my purse for times like that?”
Thus begun what I call My Sticker Ministry.
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