Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thanks, Stranger

"Blessings and strength!" says the woman in the grocery store. She grabs my arm as I pass. "I have four of my own! And a boy! Blessings and strength for you!"

The girls had already nearly upset the empty shopping cart when they both tried to climb on the back at the same time. "Whoops!" I sort of shout. "That's why we don’t ride like that! Now, who needs to go pee-pee?"

I'm loud in public. I narrate the shopping list, ask the girls questions, rally with "okay, here we go!" The chatter is my own cheering section, a foghorn warning of our approach and a veiled call for help, if you have the desire and fearlessness to answer. Today this woman's blessing was exactly what I needed.

3 comments:

Ann said...

Yes, yes, yes to all of this, to your narration, to the clamoring children, to the perceptive stranger. Yesterday, after my 5yo cried because I wouldn't switch seats with her on a moving bus, because I was tired and grumpy after a full morning at the zoo, after I'd scolded her for twice running full-sprint away from me into a crowd, I finally picked her up by the armpits and dropped her roughly into my seat. In front of a busful of staring onlookers. I apologized to her quietly, and then more loudly explained how frazzled I felt, how I'd worked so hard to have a happy morning, and I felt worn out and sad. I wish I'd had that stranger sitting next to me.

Cindy Fey said...

Ann-

Blessings and strength from me to you, sister.

2KoP said...

I've been thinking about your camping trip ever since I saw you at the grocery yesterday. Hope you had a blast.

My twins were born very prematurely and did not talk until they were four (at least not English as we know it). I had been instructed by speech therapists to keep up a running patter with them to encourage their language acquisition. We were quite a site in the grocery store, one small baby in a backpack, one in a car seat hitched to the shopping cart and two portable oxygen tanks in the well of the cart.

My grocery patter would sound something like this:

"Here's the yogurt aisle, guys. What kind of yogurt should we get today? Should we get the blueberry yogurt or the vanilla yogurt? …"

OK, bad enough to sound like a blithering idiot running off at the mouth about yogurt, but I can't tell you how truly embarrassing it was when I found myself doing it when the twins were home with a sitter and I was alone in the store. Sad to report, that happened many times. I was sure the manager at Dominick's was going to try to have me committed.

Fortunately, I ran into only a few grouches during those years. Blessings and strengths to the good Samaritans who have rachmones (Yiddish for compassion) for mothers of young children. Paradise holds a special place for them.