This post was also featured on Scary Mommy.

With 3 boys 4 and under, I’ve heard it all. Here’s the best thing you can say to a mom of young kids.

I didn’t even see her coming toward us.

But as soon as she said it, I knew she was talking to me.

It was 5:30pm on a Thursday, and I’d just walked into Target with all 3 boys in tow. It’d been a long day, but we needed bananas in the worst way, and I wasn’t about to go another morning without them.

I heard her words, and looked toward the voice. Her eyes were smiling at me.

“You’re so lucky.”

I felt warm all over.

She’s so right. I AM lucky.

For a moment, my heart tickled with a rediscovered delight.

Because for once, in public with young kids, I felt so understood.

It was so much better than what I normally hear.

Like, “Wow, you have your hands full!”

Or, “Do you know what causes that?

That last one usually comes from an old man, and is typically followed by a stupid snicker. I usually smile stupidly (but inside I’m dropping F-bombs).

Usually, when strangers comment, I feel on the defense.

You know, when you just feel like you need to throw your hands up quizzically, as if to say, ‘I don’t know how this happened’ with an awkward smile on your face?

No, this wasn’t that.

This lady totally got it.

You’re so lucky.

She didn’t pause as she said it. She kept walking. She wasn’t there to mock me or even make a moment of it. She simply planted the words, and kept going.

And as she walked by, we locked eyes for about one second.

And then, I said it.

“Thank you.”

Those 2 words rose up from the bottom of my tired, feeling-sorry-for-myself, I-haven’t-showered-in-3-days soul. “Thank you” just welled up, and just overflowed out of me.

And I meant it. In every single way.

There wasn’t a shrug of the shoulders, and “thank you” but I’m really uncomfortable and thinking you’re making fun of my situation.

It wasn’t a “thanks so much” but really please shut up before I punch you.

It wasn’t a “thank you” but please stop pitying me and let me be on my way.

It was “thank you” I’m proud.

“Thank you” you’re right.

“Thank you” I am lucky.

She wasn’t pitying me. In fact, she might have been wishing she could be me. With 3 dependent, needy, young men who need their Mommy every single moment of every single day.

You’re so lucky. The words echoed in my head, long after she’d passed the Dollar Spot and walked out of my sight.

Thank you.

Purely, absolutely, completely, from the bottom of my weary heart.

Thank you for reminding me that I am lucky. Thank you for reminding me that I need to live in gratitude for every single day that I have with these kids. Yes, there are a lot of them, but I am happy about that in every single way imaginable.

So, thank you, woman-I-don’t-know-at-Target.

You really did say the exact words that I wanted and needed to hear.

And for that, I thank you.