If you are a mother of more than 3 children, odds are you have most likely heard the following phrase “Wow, you’ve got your hands full !” More often than not, a complete stranger will say this to you at a time when you really, really, REALLY, do not need to hear it. Like while you are in the check out lane at the SuperTarget, and every one of your children is having a…..(what’s a nice way to say meltdown? ) Let’s just say they are all experiencing a ‘personal moment of impatience and exhaustion coupled with the sudden onset of extreme hunger and the need for your complete and total attention on him and him only) There, that’s what I meant to say in lieu of meltdown. Anyway, when all of a sudden, while you are trying to swipe your card through the payment machine while simultaneously keep your squirming infant in arms from lifting up your shirt looking for lunch, there it comes….”Wow, you must have your hands full !” Which is then followed by, “All boys?” I have since given up on replying to this. I used to say, “Yes, all boys ! Yes, they do indeed keep me busy!” And I would chirp this out while smiling gleefully, eager to appear like I had it ALL together. Well, I have since given up the niceties. I now look at them straight in the eye, shrug my shoulders, turn up the corners of my mouth only slightly, and give them that look which hopefully will make them feel like the idiot they are for saying such an obvious and ridiculous cliche at a time like this !! Of course my hands are full, you don’t see the nanny do you? I suppose I could have left them in the car and then had empty hands, (and a wonderful and pleasurable shopping experience) but, kids kind of fill up your hands don’t they? Time and time again, one shopping experience after another, I hear the dreaded I’ve got my hands full comment. Only once in a blue moon do I actually hear a positive parenting statement. Generally, this comes from someone of grandma age, someone who has been there, done that, and remembers with unbiased fondness the “mountain scaling” that is better known as shopping with a gaggle of small children. They look at me in my eyes, curl up their lips a bit, shrug their shoulders, and tell me how truly blessed I am. With a supportive and gentle tone they tell of the years back when they did the same thing, or how they had 5 boys, and how as hard as it was, they would not have traded being a mom for anything. Then they quietly push their cart down the aisle, and just for a minute you see your own future. You are shopping sans children, unhurriedly, and quietly, doting on young mothers and children. And just for a minute they have seen their past in you, and they remember that in the midst of grocery store mania, it just might have been all worth it.