Managing menageries
Saturday July 18th 2009, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

I checked my stash when I went to take this picture after getting home–I was surprised at how few I had left.  Time to replenish.

The story: sometimes it’s more about the parents.

There’s a Costco a mile from our house and there were things needing picking up; we don’t shop on Sundays, and waiting till Monday was going to be a pain.  And…  Things were such that if I didn’t go right then, nobody was going and it was twelve minutes to closing time.

I’ve been trying to avoid exposure to germs especially right now.  We don’t need any delays re the surgery.  And yet.  I ignored the crazy bod and asserted, hey, I’m on it, and somehow nobody objected.

I knew I had to be in and out of there pretty quickly and grabbed the few things on the list fast before the ohmygoshthestoreisclosing crowd got too big at checkout.  I had one moment standing in line where I felt like take a deep breath, c’mon, you can make it.

I needed a distraction from the Crohn’s noise, and it turned out, I got it.  There was a toddler in a shopping cart near the door who had been out and about just a bit longer than she could handle. She wasn’t in meltdown mode, but she was quivering on the edge.

And so, it looked like, was her mom, who was gamely trying to keep her daughter happy.  The mom’s dress proclaimed her as non-mainstream.  Whether she was new to this country or not, I don’t know, although so many people are in this area–but one thing I do know is, it’s wonderful but it is also hard to be the mother of a small child.

Little ones mimic not only our words as they learn to talk, but also our moods. They are absolutely unerring in picking up on how we feel. It is so easy to scoop them up and cheer them up and make their entire world wonderful; it is so easy to be cheered up by them; but the burden of parenthood is that when we’re stressed, it doesn’t take long before they are too. And they can be fairly loud about making it known that they want everything fixed NOW.

Which too many in the world at large tend not to approve of, which doesn’t make matters easier.

And yet.  They encourage us to live up to the best in ourselves to make them laugh again too by the very fact that they come around so easily.  How many middle-aged parents, remembering what it was like when their children were little, will make smiley faces and play peek-a-boo with a little one in a cart?  We remember. And we borrow back from Time the delight of pleasing toddlers: all little children are our children too now.

That mom looked like she was trying, but please (glancing in the direction of her distracted husband) get her out of this place and let her go home.

Costco requires its members to let their receipt be looked over on their way out the door.  There was another lineup–again, not too bad.  I pulled my cart over and waved the guy behind me forward as I fished in my purse.

There was just one in there: a bright green handknitted hummingbird from the women’s cooperative in Peru, with a red throat and a flower at the end of its beak.  Cool. I took a few steps over and handed it to the mom:  “It’s for helping cheer her up.”

She looked at me and at it, stunned. She said nothing; I don’t know if we had English in common.  “It’s a finger puppet.  Merry Christmas,” not wanting to invoke religion at all but rather the idea of a gift freely given and not expected back.

I returned to my cart and was almost immediately up to the door guy, and just as I turned going out, done, I glanced back–to where she was waiting for me to. She caught my eye, smiled, and waved.

And her little daughter was happy.

I floated all the way home, feeling like, and *that’s* why nobody else could put things down just then to run to the store before it closed!

17 Comments so far
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Wow you did well at the checkout. Better than berating the woman for not timing her supermarket shop better with a tired infant – or a friend’s tale, twins in the trolley, not tied in and one head dives into the concrete floor, and instead of helping, gets told off by another customer.

A parent gets through it, but some days having kindness offered is easier to manage than negativity.

Comment by StellaMM 07.19.09 @ 12:12 am

Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking your illness prevents you from making a difference in this world. There’s a hummingbird out there that knows better!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 07.19.09 @ 3:51 am

That’s why you get those “urges”. You listen to them and can respond in the best way possible!

Comment by Laura 07.19.09 @ 4:32 am

Good morning – as usual I start off my day reading yu daily post. A group that I joined many, many years ago talks about being a “power of example”.
You, my dear, are just that.

Comment by Carole Howland 07.19.09 @ 4:42 am

But of course! No one else can do what you do! The world is such a better place with people such as you in it.

Comment by Pegi 07.19.09 @ 6:22 am

Wonderful! You got me all choked up on this one.

Comment by Joansie 07.19.09 @ 7:08 am

I think you’re the kindest, most empathetic person I’ve ever known. What I also love though is that when you need to, you show your very strong spine! Strong and kind – what a nice combo. 🙂


Comment by (formerly) no-blog-rachel 07.19.09 @ 7:33 am

Serendipity! How wonderful that you both made each other feel better in your own way.

Comment by TripletMom 07.19.09 @ 8:14 am

The Peruvian puppets are so intricate! each looks like a work of art :-}
I am making some also, but they are much simpler. I figure the kids will still enjoy them!
Empowerment, happiness, in a small bit of yarn :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.19.09 @ 8:56 am

What a wonderful gift! Your sensitivity is amazing.

Comment by Channon 07.19.09 @ 9:29 am

Some people hear or see an unhappy child and wish the parent would get the kid ouddahere!

Others hear or see the same child and do something positive. I can name one: her name is Alison.

Humor –

All eyes were on the radiant bride as her father escorted her down the aisle.  They reached the altar and the waiting groom; the bride kissed her father and placed something in his hand.  The guests in the front pews responded with ripples of laughter.  Even the priest smiled broadly.  As her father gave her away in marriage, the bride gave him back his credit card.

Comment by Don Meyer 07.19.09 @ 11:10 am

What a very thoughtful thing to do…and that young mother will always remember your kindness in such a trying time. I’m sure it also made you feel better to make someone else feel better. Funny how that works… I also wanted to let you know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers and my husband and I are both sad you’re having another bout of illness…and are thinking of you. And thanks to Don for adding another smile. 🙂 He’s becoming famous for his jokes – my husband shares them at work. 🙂
Best wishes to you, Alison…get well soon!

Comment by Abby Baker 07.19.09 @ 11:58 am

Oh Alison you are so very kind! Please know you are in my thoughts. I believe you are an angel among us, and I continue to learn from you. I send strength, patience (with persistance) and love to you and your family.

Comment by DebbieR 07.19.09 @ 3:44 pm

I still learn from you all the time.

I bet all the germs stayed respectfully away from you during all that.

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 07.19.09 @ 6:12 pm

What a lovely thing to do. I am sure that you were meant to be in that Costco to help that poor Mom and her little one. The universe works that way. And thanks to Don as always for the chuckle.

Comment by Eileen 07.19.09 @ 7:48 pm

I still carry the duck that you tossed out last year at the Boogie Knights concert. I think of Robbie and you and the Knights and smile.

Comment by Deb in CT 07.20.09 @ 6:30 am

A lesson in kindness, being prepared and being aware of when to offer both..thank you.

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.21.09 @ 4:31 am

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