Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I plunk down into my restaurant chair, four busy children under 10 scuttling around me. The baby squalling because he needed to be nursed . . . again. I was on round seven of “Would you rather be . . .” with the oldest. A frog. I guess I’d rather be a frog than a toad. Choruses of, “Mom? Mom?” peppered the restaurant as I try to hush the exuberant and loud voices flying around me.

“Shhh . . . inside voices. Do you see all of the people around us, boys? Let’s speak quietly so everyone can enjoy their meal.”

Picking up yet another thrown-down toy from my baby, who now refused to sit in the sticky high chair a mere foot from me, I quietly close my eyes and exhale, wondering at my idea to eat out.

I really thought this would be easier.

While my husband colors with the two middle boys, I quickly choose to be permanently blue over permanently purple in response to another question, and I hand my baby a few Cheerios that will hopefully remain on the table. I grow sick of hearing my own voice admonishing my children to speak quietly.

And we haven’t even ordered our drinks yet.

“Mom, I gotta go potty,” I turn toward my 5-year-old and scoop him up, causing the baby to squeal as I leave the table. My husband hurries to distract him, digging out a fresh toy from the bulging diaper bag. My 7-year-old son darts toward us, running in front of a server carrying a large tray.

Surely hot dogs at home would have afforded me more peace than this meal.

RELATED: To the Woman Who is So Hard On Herself

The drinks having finally arrived, for a moment the table grows relatively peaceful.

“I was watching your family from over there in the corner.”

I look up and see an older man with white shaggy hair. My heart starts to beat a hundred miles a minute. Oh no, now we have people coming to tell us to quiet down.

The man, standing in a non-threatening position, stands next to my boys. Noticing his smile, my own face questions his decision to approach our noisy table.

Bending over, he hands each boy a dollar.

“I see you have been doing a great job behaving for dinner at this restaurant. Keep it up. You are wonderful boys.” Smiling, he nods his head at the boys, yet his eyes remain fixed on mine. He then seems to just kind of disappear, leaving three delighted boys and one bewildered mom.

There are those who can see past the noise, past the disruption, and through all of the squalor to find the real heart of the matter, seeing the true person within.

The Dollar Angel was one of the first people to model this to me.

What if I did the same? What if I were to look past the noise, the endless questions, the requests to visit the potty yet again? What will I find? What will I notice?

Will I notice the oldest and the way he engages me in conversation? Can I trust in the delight of him at this tender age wanting to know his mom’s opinion? I hear it won’t last. Can I treasure it now?

Will I notice how my middle two happily color with their dad, casually picking up the toys thrown on the floor by the baby? Do I see through the noise to excited faces, trusting eyes turned up on their father?

Will I notice a precious baby who finally consented to sit in the high chair, who smells like baby shampoo and who will only be this young on this day in his lifetime?

RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows

Everyone momentarily quiet, I glance around the restaurant noticing that we do not stick out anymore. We are not that table that everyone stares at, quietly shaking their heads.

We are a delightful and loving family out creating memories.

I see approving smiles, encouraging smiles, smiles that say, “Yep, Momma, I’ve been there, too.”

A sudden loud shriek breaks my heavenly moment.

“Mom,” he wails, “I can’t wait any longer–I gotta go.”

And we’re back off! Grabbing his hand, we scramble toward the bathroom for the third time in 20 minutes.

But this time my attitude is different. Gratitude has changed what I notice around me. I notice peace. I notice joy. I notice what is right in front of me. Thankfulness now clambers around me. I choose to listen.

RELATED: I Hope I Loved You Enough Today

Thank you, Dollar Angel.

Your mere dollar modeled for me how to look for the good amidst the noise and struggles of raising young children.

Your dollar calmed. Your dollar reassured. Your dollar uplifted. Your dollar inspired.

You offered a young mom a priceless dollar of perspective.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Aleisha Cate

Hi, my name is Aleisha Cate. I am a wife to my wonderful husband and mom to four awesome boys. I love encouraging women that God never wastes a hurt in our lives. You can find me on my website at

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading