Today, I was the haggard mother of 3, usually well-behaved little boys, struggling to get through the grocery store while keeping their tiny hands sanitized and off of any and everything. The baby was in his car seat, in the cart, surrounded by food and medicine crying his heart out from teething pain. You were the younger woman dressed to the 9's with daggers of hate and know-better glances shooting from your painted eyes. You told me to give him a teething ring as if I had no idea what those things were with baby #3. You stomped off in your seething, heels flashing that red I once knew shaking your head at my sweater and flip flops. As fate would have it she got stuck behind me in line and I had grabbed the wrong debit card (yes, we have two accounts). While holding a crying baby, and trying to get the older two to leave the cashier alone, I transferred the funds to the proper account and paid my groceries. I looked at my hand, realizing that I had failed to put my diamond back on this morning after changing the baby. It sometimes catches his precious body and I hate to scratch him with it. Yes, she even noticed my naked hands. I wanted to rattle off a snide remark about teething rings or explain that at 3 months he lacks the dexterity to successfully put a teething ring in his mouth but I refrained. Instead I said "Thank you for your suggestion. Have a great day. “Uneducated baby breeders" I heard you whisper under your breath....
And you, the older lady, bent from years of looking down to help those tiny children,
unable to straighten to fully look me in the eye said "These days are
fleeting. I know you are doing the best you can. You gave that snotty woman
kindness instead of the earful most would have...God bless you and I hope your
sweet baby gets some relief." Slower now, you learned to yield to the 20 something’s
so busy with their and meetings-too scheduled to
bother to stop and make human contact in a way that might be meaningful. You
know so much more about living than we could imagine. You gave me your
kindness on a day when I needed it. You gave me your understanding that
all mothers no matter how old know.
I took a deep breath and attempted to gather all three of my
"bred" children and walked to the car.
You had no idea that I was a double major in college with a minor and went
on to obtain my Juris Doctorate. You have no
idea that I am married to a man who loves me unconditionally. You have no idea
that not only were these children intentional but prayed for and loved. You
have no idea that he is a strong, faithful, loving man who serves our Country
and asks for nothing in return. You have no idea that we have more than
one bank account to pay for our groceries and have never taken a dime in
government aid even when we could have qualified for it on my husband's military
salary years ago. My dirty sweater and snotty children screamed poor and
For one of you, this would have mattered. This would have been information
that would have changed how you treated me. You might have been less vocal but
I am sure you still wouldn't have offered to help. For the other, this
information didn't matter. You couldn't straighten your body to even look up.
You offered kindness not knowing or caring what I looked like. You gave me grace
and understanding because you remember how hard it was to juggle children and
It made me realize how often I had been the first woman; too busy to give
someone grace; too selfish to be kind in my thoughts; too judging of a person
in a grocery store. I have a lot to offer in friendship, talents, and
knowledge but the former woman would never be able to share those with me
because she assumed I was nothing like I am based on what she witnessed
today. How many people have I passed up in life? How many
experiences did I miss out on because I was quick to judge?
I am on my journey of 100 days of Gratitude and my attempt to reach out to
spread kindness. It seems today, the kindness found me.
I don't know your name but I hope when I am broken from years of motherhood
and living life, I remember to be kind to the young mother in the grocery
Which woman are you?