There are just somethings only parents understand in life.
And often through a nod of silent understanding you realize that other parents truly know how you are feeling in those unpredictable situations.
Just this week, I was driving down the road with my music on my radio being drowned out by the cries of anguish coming from the back seat.
Moments earlier, my daughter Elsie had slammed her finger in the truck door. Convinced it was broken, and that the only person who could cure it was Daddy, she bellowed like a banshee into the morning air. And of course, she did it with her head fully extended out the open window for half of Yazoo County to hear.
And then baby Jase was also shouting into the air because he couldn’t understand why I couldn’t magically refill his cup with milk right there on the spot.
A woman at the stop light gazed over at me and my entourage. Without asking, I knew she was a parent because she never checked up, watching my two children screaming into the sky with empty milk cups and “crooked” fingers.
It happens everywhere I go. Parents give you that “I understand” look as you continue to push through your day.
At restaurants, my children have more food on their faces than in their mouths. The floor surrounding our table looks like Hansel and Gretel came through, leaving crumbs to find their way home. Drinks are spilled. Food is thrown. And everyone plays musical chairs.
But that sympathetic grin from a stranger passing by tells me, “this too shall pass.”
I have people beside me at red lights who completely understand why I am blaring “What Does the Fox Say” from my radio. They don’t even flinch when they see a sippy cup full of neon Kool Aid slam against the window. And no judgement is passed when they see a “switch” being produced.
And absolutely no parents ever stopped to check on me when I swerved over on the side of the road to diffuse a situation going down in the back seat.
Parents don’t ask why there is a Piscasso-like rendering on your hallway wall. They don’t question hairstyles when half the hair on your kid’s hair is cut off. They don’t judge when a quick trip to the bathroom during church is returned with a red-faced, sniffling kid.
They never question why a training potty is sitting right in the middle of your living room. They could care less if there is an empty jar of peanut butter on the floor and a kid running around with what looks like pomade in his hair.
They can still look you in the eye as you walk around the supermarket with a kid who has permanent marker over his entire body. And they appreciate your kid’s honesty when they blurt out a family secret in public or announce they what they did in the bathroom earlier.
Parents have a connection, a bond unlike any other. We’ve all been there, and we are all managing to survive...sort of.
I take comfort when older ladies who are so full of wisdom stop me in the store as I rip open a bag of Goldfish crackers and hand them over my buggy of little birds, eager to eat.
“Don’t worry,” they say. “It gets easier.”
I’m not sure if it gets easier or if young parents just learn to roll with the punches better.
Those crayon marks on the wall tend to grow on you after a while. Spaghetti does taste better hanging from your forehead. And those mohawks will always grow back...it is just hair.