This story really started about 12 years ago for me. My oldest child was 7, followed by her very active 5 year old brother, a 4 year old princess, and the baby was 18 months. It was the Christmas season, December of 2000 and I was buried in the daily responsibilities of raising young children as a stay-at-home-mom. I had a bible study group that met twice a month which had become a lifeline for me along with a handful of friends I met through my kids at our local church. One family in particular, the Garners, were a huge encouragement to me one day in mid-December. They had six children, the oldest two were teens. I loved listening to this mom and hearing how her family worked so well together.
One day, this precious mom gave me a gift that I will never forget. She sent her teenage daughter, who could actually drive, over to my house to babysit my kids so I could get out of the house and just do whatever I wanted to do for the entire day!
I couldn’t believe it.
Even my own mom had trouble taking ALL FOUR of my kids for the entire day! But she was willing and perfectly capable of handling all of them for me since she had five younger siblings at home she had grown up with.
She was prepared, her mom knew it, and sent her to me – a struggling young mom.
I don’t remember what all I got done that day, but I do remember feeling like I had just been swimming under water for years and didn’t even know what fresh air felt like in my lungs until I had just one day to clear my head and step away from the swamp.
I loved being with my kids, they were a blast, I was just so tired and needed a break to rest my mind and take off the mommy hat for a day, and this teen helped make that happen.
It was their family Christmas gift to me, and I will never forget it.
Fast forward 12 years and my princess is now 16. She’s been in a home with younger siblings her entire life, five of them. That is just life as we know it. It’s what we do.
Cassidy was asked to babysit for a young mom with four very young kids last week, including a set of twins. In her mind, it was a normal babysitting job, one that she’s very familiar with since it’s her daily life at home. I dropped her off, we said our “I love yous” and that was all I heard until she was dropped off later that day at home.
Later that night she said, “Mom! Mandy could not believe that I could handle all of her kids AND do the dishes!” We both just chuckled a little and went on chopping veggies and washing dishes while keeping our toddler from standing at the dishwasher.
I really didn’t think much else about it, I was glad Cassidy went and could help this mom out.
The very next morning was a Thursday, the last day of the month, just before payday.
I woke up and looked in an empty fridge to figure out what my family would eat for the day. There was nothing much at all to choose from, we had been eating through our pantry, freezer, and fridge all month and were looking at slim pickings. I reached in the back of the pantry for some pinto beans and dug in the bottom of the freezer and found half of a frozen ham hock.
Beans it is for the day! I covered the beans, added an onion, a package of taco seasoning, can of rotel tomatoes, and threw the ham hock in the crock pot and started cooking.
It was a day full of errands and meetings so mom was out and about while my homeschoolers worked through lessons.
Then the phone rang…
It was Cassidy
“MOM! Mrs. Mandy just came over and brought us DINNER!!!!”
My first thought was, why? Is someone sick at home that I missed? Then Cass tells me that she was SO blessed by her service at their house babysitting all her kids, she wanted to bring dinner, along with some milk and bread too.
She didn’t even know there were only beans that day.
But God knew.
I came home to a note that made me cry, and made me think back to the Garners those 12 years back. I remember how hard young moms of many have it.
I’m sharing what Mandy wrote because her words of encouragement made the biggest impact on me that day, and brought me to tears. As moms we get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget our sisters are struggling right next door to us.
Mandy wrote, “Erin, Cassidy blessed me more than words yesterday as not only did she care for the kids but also cleaned and did laundry and she didn’t even mention what she had done. From one mom to another, I recognize the mothering you are doing in your kids which in turn are blessing other people. Our job as moms often goes unnoticed, unthanked, unappreciated, and taken for granted. I wanted to stop the busyness of my day to tell you what an amazing, inspiring, God centered life you are teaching, living, molding, and creating for your children. You are an inspiration to me and encouraging to me that my kids will be taught in the ways of the Lord just how I see it in your kids. Please accept this offering as a sincere thank you for taking your calling as a mother so sincerely.” Love Mandy
Thank you Jesus for Mandy Henson and Betty Garner, because you have shown me that each one teaches one after being taught by one.
If there is a mother with several small children in your life, pick up the phone and offer to take her kids for a day this Christmas.
She will never forget it.