A couple of weeks ago I was out grocery shopping with my two youngest (ages 1 and 2). Our typical routine consists of getting those hot deals on all things processed at Aldi, then boogying over to Meijer for the fancy generic food they just don’t have at Aldi. Nevertheless, by the time we get to check out at Meijer everyone is in a Code Red situation. The 2-year-old is tired from running through the store, the 1-year-old probably missed his morning nap and is fighting an internal battle on whether he’s more hungry or tired. At this point, it’s a toss-up. There is a meltdown just around the corner. I know it, the cashier knows it, every retired person in Bloomington-Normal shopping with us on a Thursday morning knows it.
Needless to say, I try to make it through checkout in record time. I place everything on the belt in a way that makes sense for bagging. If I’m buying booze (HAHAHAHA “if”)… When I’m buying booze, I keep it for last so I can have my ID ready. However, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are there are too many variables. Too many things out of your control. Those sons-a-bitches who design these stores know that stressed-out parents like me will do anything to shut their kids up in the check out lane so they fill it with candy, and toys and random shit that no one on this planet ever needs….ever.
So, the 1-year-old starts fussing because it’s feedin’ time. The 2-year-old wants all the miniature princess dolls that as soon as we get home, will mean jack shit. I’m shoving every cracker I have in the diaper bag down the baby’s throat, while trying to distract the girl one with anything that won’t cost me any more money. I get all the groceries on the belt, I’m sweating like George Costanza housing Kung Pao Chicken, and now there is someone behind us in line, which for some reason elevates my stress level.
We get all checked out. Bags back in the cart. Debit card swiped, then inserted because I can never remember which one it is. At this point, my anxiety is to a max. I still have to get everything and everyone in the car, home, out of the car, fed, and napped. Ugh….
Then, the woman who had braved standing behind us in line looks at me and says, “Wow. You make that look so easy. I remember doing it, but I don’t remember it being that easy.”
I almost burst into tears and hugged her. At first, I thought “Well, Gotcha Bitch! Cause I’m a fucking wreck!” But I took the high road and said, “If you were in my head you wouldn’t be saying that. But thank you very much.”
That woman, whoever she is, has no idea what she said meant to me in that moment. When you go anywhere with little kids you feel like a pariah. The minute you walk in you can actually hear the eye rolls. I can’t say I blame them. Other people’s kids are annoying. Just remember that we’re doing the best we can.
So whenever you see a mom, a dad, anyone straight up owning a stressful situation, whether it’s kid related or not, give them credit. If you’re thinking something nice about someone, say it. It sounds so simple and yet it’s something I’ll admit I rarely do. Why? Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up? Especially this time of year when everyone is stressed out, be nice. Find the good. You never know when you could be making someone’s day. I know I will never forget that woman at Meijer who made all of my stress and efforts seem worth it. She made me like everything was going to be ok, and there was nothing I couldn’t deal with. So, whoever you are Meijer Angel, Thank You! And as for the rest of you, I know people suck but try to be nice. Maybe they won’t suck as much.