A note for the lady who just told me she felt sorry for me at Target.
It is a Friday, not much different than the weekdays before. I am trying my best to steer a cart of groceries, while keeping an eye on my curious two-year-old and struggling to carry my one-year-old who wants nothing to do with me or the shopping cart.
I realize we are loud. I realize they appear to be running loose, unattended, in an increasingly crowded store. I realize it’s difficult to even push past us, as my almost 7-month pregnant belly makes my turns wide and my pace slow.
I was almost relieved to see her in the taco and pasta aisle – her and a shopping cart, with her older child strapped in and sitting still and smiling. Her hair was pretty and clean; her clothes were, too. There was a part of me wondering when I’ll switch back from stretch pants to jeans myself during a regular day and part of me just being happy to see what seems far off may not be too far after all.
I expect her smile; I expect her sympathetic mommy nod – that expression that she’s been here. She understands. And in a sense, that is what she was so kind to offer.
Then, the pebble that hit me like a stone and stopped me. We are told that words are powerful, and they are. They have the ability to knock down or send us soaring.
Hers seemed to drip down so slow they made me pause to pick them up.
“Oh, I feel sorry for you.” she says.
I struggle to think quick enough to respond. I smile, and I catch a little boy’s fist that swings toward my face, and I watch my oldest stop and study her.
I exhale a response that we are hanging in there and begin to toss out excuses like a life saver to rescue myself from this encounter and rein some good back in – “they’re tired, we’re almost done.”
She smiles and quickly adds that she remembers those days, but she only had one.
I push my cart as quick as I can to checkout, knowing this is only one of many bystanders probably thinking the same thing – that I am sinking, just trying to stay afloat.
I get home, get inside. Get unpacked. I unpack this exchange we had, I think through the words, and I come back to the same conclusion.
There’s nothing “sorry” about me or my situation. It isn’t easy right now, and I remember it wasn’t with one baby either. Even though, it is often a fight — one of me against -myself- and against every instinct I have to get angry, embarrassed, frustrated (and the list goes on). With God’s help, I am hanging in each round, and He restores my energy, my worth, my purpose, His grace, each time I ask.
So to the concerned lady I met today, i am glad you stopped to say something, and I know you intended it for good. And it is.
You see, even with some hard, I take time to reflect and realize there is abundantly more good in my life, with my people. You know this as a mommy, and I do, too. I thank God my hard is no harder than it is and that He can use us to speak up and say something to encourage those who just need a little extra push to move forward. Especially with a loaded-down shopping cart and little dragging feet.
You see, there is no need for anyone to feel sorry for me and especially for me to feel that way about myself, because at the end of the day, I am doing my dream job, with people I love. That should be my response — always. I wouldn’t want it – this treasure I’ve been entrusted – any other way.