SO yesterday I went on my first adventure grocery shopping with my TWO boys. No small task, might I add. However, I found some unexpected joy along the way...
As moms we so often are hasty to react to the way the folks around us interact with our children, especially strangers. You know, from the moment you start showing in pregnancy and someone wants to touch your belly, you begin to conjure responses in your head about how rude or crazy or uncooth they are. It is a fine line between wanting what is right, healthy, and safe for your kiddos, and sharing them with the public, who, seemingly, adores them sometimes and wants to lavish them with love, caressing them with their DIRTY hands, germ infested lips, and bad breath. :) It may be rare for we, bent-out-of-shapers, germa-phobians, to take in a moment for what it really is, one like I experienced yesterday- someone adoring a sweet, young child, for just being sweet and young. Or- seeing a mom, who just needs a little hand.
It must have been obvious that this was my first "mom of two" adventure by the time we arrived at the checkout. Titus had been crying up and down the isles, when I decided to take him out of his carrier and attempt to push the mamoth cart one-handed, while chucking groceries into the basket, nearly barrying Payton, and carrying my sling-style baby drapped over one arm. He was content, until I had to put him back in the carrier to bag my groceries. Several people had stopped me to admire my young son as we were walking, making comments, about their own grown children, and memories of the moments that I am currently entrinched in. "Oh, honey you have your hands full...I remember those days!"
After I paid the bill, which I have no idea what it actually was, as I gave up my calculating mid-trip, we strolled over to the counter to bag. I usually let Payton sit on the counter so he can help me. I know, very safe parenting. However, he decided not to help, but that he wanted to use his hat as a pillow to "take a nap" on the counter. Cute. Unhelpful. I was frantically trying to sort (which I quickly gave up) and bag the groceries with a crazy "napping" toddler and a screaming infant sitting in his car seat beside the cart. This stranger approached and my mama radar lights went bizzerk!!! She was going to, yes, TOUCH my child- my one month, old, delicate, absolutely germ free baby! HOw could she? I continued to throw cans and boxes into my bags, not really knowing what to do, but just wanting to get out, all the while laughing at my messy little situation. SHe reached for the baby, and I thought she was going to pick him up! The nerve! But she didn't. She asked if he took a pacifier and stood by his carrier, gently whispering to him and rocking him, trying desperately to calm him for me, so I could finish my gathering. So gentle, so understanding, and surprisingly considerate of my thoughts about what I might want her to do with my fragile infant. I worked out the stringy thoughts inside my head, of how her being there might forever WOUND my child, and began to see the situation for what it was: a very kind and gentle spirit of a woman, obviously remembering my place in life, just wanting to help a mama, who really needed it! She saw the "HOT MESS," hair flying, from a half-remaining pony tail, toddler climbing (a little dangerously, probably) on the counter and baby screaming for dear life, who just needed an extra set of hands.
Not only did she try to soothe my boy as he suffered through the long bagging process, but she insisted on pushing my cart and walking us to the van. Whew. I needed that! I didn't know how I was going to get these boys safely to the car with all this craziness! I was so relieved, still confused at how she had, in just moments, turned my heart. I was so skeptical of her. She wasn't your typical, sweet-smelling, grandma type that you hand your child off to without even thinking, but her heart was JUST that- sweet-smelling, and so "grandma-esk." She blessed me, and she blessed my family with her gentleness, respect and consideration for my need for a little help. I think I would have let her hold the baby, in the end, if she had asked! Heaven forbid, she hadn't washed her hands and we were fresh out of hand sanitizer. Somehow I felt peace in those moments, and knew that her kindness was going to affect my kids more than the germs on her hands!
I hope I remember that the next time someone reaches for my sweet undamaged little bunddle and consider the blessing it is to have small children that bring so many fond memories, smiles and JOY to others I am willing to share them with- a little. :)