laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Stranger Happenings

on April 26, 2011

So we have lots of things going on right now… hubby’s brother (and his family) are moving to China and are here to visit before they leave. Which also overlaps with my brother getting married, and so we’re gearing up for that (as all but littlest E is a part of the festivities) and anticipating the arrival of a host of other out of town family members that we don’t normally get to see. So when I say we’re busy, I mean, things are insane and  I’m going a little crazy!! But we are enjoying the family time and hopefully we are able to really make the most of it! So if you’re wondering why I’ve suddenly become so boring or why my posts are no longer adding spice to your life… now you know.

So with all of the busyness of these weeks… I have some kids that seem to be a little wound, as well as myself. And Hubby/Daddy, he’s just plain tired. My normally, I-don’t-know-how-to-be-unhappy baby is crying, whining, and basically clinging to my legs all day long. Which does leave me a little big on the frayed side. Thankfully, Hubs came home early yesterday and so I was able to jump in the truck and go to the grocery store. I know it’s lame that most of my “down time” (read: kid free time) is spent at the grocery store, but they’re only little for a very short time. I’m never going to look back and say, “Man, I wish I would have spent more time away from the kids when they were little.” (I don’t see myself saying that about missing any point of their lives, but especially now.) Anyhow, I tend to dawdle at the store, because it’s my de-stress time, lame as it may be.

Usually my hour long grocery trip is uneventful, and the cashier is the only person to talk to me, and I’m just fine with that. And it’s enough time that I get home and the kids are like, “Yay! Mom’s home!” and I’m glad to see them. Yesterday was pretty much the same except for one minor detail. I say minor, because it really was no big deal. To look in, you’d never think of it as anything substantial. But for me, after the day I’d had with the kids, it was. Let me preface this by saying that we spent the weekend out of town and that I didn’t know until a day or two before that we were even going out of town. Then we got home past bedtime on Sunday and had company coming the next day. Starting to get the picture? And if I haven’t mentioned this before, I do not like disorder, and I like it even less when visible to people who don’t live with me. So I’m scrambling and trying to get things done as quickly as I can, while the children run behind me undoing just about every thing I do… and then add the fussing baby (do to teething and the busy weekend). So I was about to merge onto the meltdown lane. And then I went to the store.

I’m at the checkout, and the lady behind me starts making small talk as we wait. Why do they stick those order separator things so far out of your reach anyways? I smile and agree it’s ridiculous. And then this stranger showed me kindness. She looked at me and said, “You must have small children.”  I quickly look myself over trying to find the stamp (or hand print) that screamed, “I’m a mom.” I didn’t see any. Unless the state of my hair, my sweatpants, and the exhaustion in my eyes count. I smiled and said 3 and asked how she could tell.. She just smiled and said she’d recognized the look of exhaustion the can only be caused by 2 types of parenting: the under 3 crowd or the teenage crowd. And since I didn’t look old enough to have teenagers, it must be the former. I smiled and nodded, then asked her, “Teenagers?” She smiled, and I saw the exhaustion in her eyes as well as she nodded. And that was the the long and the short of our “conversation.” But somehow, afterwards I felt a little bit more refreshed. I think that it offered some sense of community. A moment of “I’ve been there before.” combined with “we’ve all got our own struggles,”  that made me feel a sense of the bigger picture as well. They’re not little for long, we all have different struggles, each as unique, and as hard, and as scary, and as sad as anyone else’s, because they are our own. But for a brief moment in time, I felt like I wasn’t alone in my struggle after all. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, the gas station, walking down the road… offer a little support to those you meet. Even if it’s only in the form of a smile. You never know how life changing (even if momentarily) it can be.

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