Archive for January 30th, 2009

I had planned

to write about discipline but I changed my mind. Instead I want to write about the kindness of strangers . Last night I looked in my cupboard and let the kids chose between top ramen and cereal. That bare. In the last two weeks, every time I’ve planned to go shopping for more than milk and bread, something has happened. Today, I knew I had to go. OB stayed home sick from school yesterday because he was coughing. I wasn’t alarmed, especially after he asked if he could ride his bike with a friend. He’d been fine all day so I let him go, but he came in shortly later coughing again. When he woke up this morning and asked to stay home again, I let him. But he wasn’t that sick, you know, just on the border between, ‘go back to  bed’ and ‘get dressed you’re going to school’.

So we went to the grocery store. About half way through, he started complaining and asking if we were almost done. This didn’t raise any alarms because, well, he always does that. But as we were heading past the dry pasta toward the  vegetables. He said, “mom I don’t feel good,” in a tone that means, Mom I really don’t feel good. I stopped and turned to look at him. He was chalky white. I asked if he was okay and he told me he thought he was going to throw up. I put one arm around him and we’d taken two steps toward the bathroom when he sunk to the floor in not quite a faint and then threw up. So I’m holding him, trying to keep D4 close but not looking (she’d already started gagging) in the store with a loaded cart.

I had some tissue and wipes in my purse so I was cleaning up as much as I could with one arm around OB and one eye on D4–He was as embarrassed as he was sick, poor guy–when a gentlemen with kind eyes asked if he could do anything. I thanked him and asked him to get someone from the store. By that time, another woman stopped by and asked if he was okay and could she do anything. I told her thank you but no. She directed traffic for a bit until someone from the store came and stood by my purse… which was open and I had completely forgotten. Another woman came up and said, “if it’s okay. I’ll just stand here with you for awhile.” Really if I wasn’t so stressed about how I was going to get out to the car, and the fact that I really did need those groceries (No bread, no milk-after cereal for dinner, no much of anything in cupboards) I would have cried. She stood there until OB was ready to stand. The grocery clerk very gently said, “don’t worry about that,” pointing the mess on the floor, “I’ll take care of it.”

So we walked to the check out and I’m still debating. The kids will want dinner tonight and there wasn’t even enough Top Ramen for that, but I wanted to get OB home. I asked him if he could manage until we got through the line. He said he wanted to go sit the car. I know, you’re not suppose to leave your children in the car, but I’d parked close and he is 11. The lady that waited with me was checking out with her husband and she offered to watch my cart and keep my place in line so I could take Ben to the  car and then when we got back, she offered to go sit with him (I’d already called D1 to come sit with him but she was at the gym across town) I could have hugged her, really I could have. I sped through the check out process and loaded the groceries and now OB is tucked under a nice warm blanket on the couch playing his DS.

I wonder if any of those people who said a kind word or offered to help know how they turned a difficult situation into an occasion of thankfulness? Don’t get me wrong, it was still tough, but so much less so. And I hope each one of those kindnesses returns to them a hundredfold.

OB will be fine in a day or two but I really wish I would have asked that last lady her name. I didn’t. I did say thank you, but it seemed inadequate. And although there were quite a few people who I thank today. That simple act of , ‘I’ll just stand here with you’ so profoundly touched me that I will never forget her. So lady at the grocery store, whoever you are, I may not know your name, but God does and really that’s better. And, once again, thank you.

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