Jess Wolfe's trip to the grocery store with her four kids this week didn't start off all that great, but it ended up giving her a moment she'll cherish for the rest of her life.
"Sweaty, baby strapped to my back, three year old insisting that her belly hurts and NEEDS her donut that she forgot to eat after lunch, 6 year old using everything in sight as a weapon, 7 year old wanting to spend the only dollar he has. This. This was my trip to the grocery today," she wrote on a post to her Facebook page.
So, she was understandably a little annoyed when a woman approached her and asked if she had "one of those phones that takes pictures."
"Trying not to convey my annoyance to someone else adding to the million questions that make up my day, I replied that, yes I do have one of those fancy phones," she wrote. What the woman asked next seemed a little strange to Wolfe at first: She wanted to take a photo of the mom and her kids, just bagging up their groceries.
Though it does seem like a strange request, the reason the woman asked is actually incredibly sweet.
"She told me that she wishes she had photos of herself doing every day things with her kids," Wolfe wrote. "She validated the fact that a simple grocery trip is hard. She told me that what I do matters. She doesn't miss what made the days hard, but she misses what made them sweet. I will always cherish this picture and the message that came with it."
What the woman didn't know, though, is that Wolfe is actually a photographer and she was dreading what this photo might look like. She was sweaty, her kids weren't dressed up, the lighting in the grocery store wasn't exactly ideal — nothing about the moment was technically picture perfect. But, as it turns out, none of that mattered.
"Once I got everyone out of the store, the kids in their carseat and our groceries loaded in the back, I looked at the photo and I got overwhelmingly sentimental," she tells Refinery29.
Wolfe says that she often feels her family is a "pain in the butt" when they're out in public, since she spends a good amount of time just trying to make sure her kids aren't in anyone's way.
"So, when she asked if she could take the photo I was a little embarrassed because people were looking at us anyway. It was like, 'ummmm sure.'"
Later, she realized how nice it was that someone not only didn't see her kids as a nuisance in the grocery store, but that she took the time to make sure Wolfe would have something to remember. "She gave me something she wishes she would have had with her kids growing up," Wolfe says. "It was really sweet."
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Read these stories next: