Moms with anxiety know that doing simple things—like eating at a restaurant with your kids—isn't always easy, but you do it anyway because you love your little ones. That's what Nina Montalvo Carr had in mind when she took her five children out to eat at Cracker Barrel. Little did she know the meal would end in tears.
"Today, I wanted to surprise the kids with a treat eating out. I was willing to take control of my anxiety and do it," she shared with the Love What Matters community on Facebook.
As all parents can attest, there's nothing less fun than trying to corral a bunch of kids into a car, driving to a restaurant, waiting for a big enough table, and dealing with picky eaters. On top of that, getting dirty looks from other patrons when your child just won't calm down isn't very encouraging either. Fortunately, Carr's kids behaved like absolute angels—a testament to Carr and her husband working hard to instill good manners in their children.
After they had finished their meal, Carr's kids all made trips to the bathroom before they departed. That's when a stranger came up to Carr with a question.
"All these kids are yours? They are so well behaved. I can't believe it," she said.
"I proceeded to tell her they were all mine and thank you. That meant a lot. It's work, but they are good kids," Carr wrote. "I also mentioned it helps a lot that their father is a Marine and helps out so much. He's a great role model for them."
They chatted for a few minutes before the other woman returned to her table. When Carr's waitress, Jen, returned with their bill, Jen also made a remark about what well-behaved children she had. As a waitress who has probably seen her fair share of rude, noisy, misbehaved children, this compliment was, no doubt, very high praise.
"I just have to say how well behaved your kids are. I'm going to take your bill. It's been paid for by a family here at the restaurant who has noticed your beautiful well behaved children. All they ask is that you pay it forward."
And that's when the tears started; fortunately, they were happy tears.
"I cried because this is exactly what I do and teach my kids. Surprising people and paying for either their meal, coffee, Starbucks, etc. God had it come back to me today.❤️ He showed me human kindness from strangers to my family. With all the negativity in the news, it's amazing how God shows you 'I'm here.'"
Amen to that! Now, Carr wants those who have heard her story to do one thing: pay it forward! And that's a message we can get behind.