I had made it to the second store on my grocery shopping list. Most moms, especially moms that have boys understand that you have to buy bulk items first at the wholesale store. Then you go and get everything else on the list at the other grocery stores. I was in the check out line with my friend who has 3 boys. The cart was filled for 5 boys, so it was definitely FULL! I put the last of my groceries on the belt and sighed, knowing this store was going to be over $200 easy. I looked at the young lady behind me. Her basket was filled with around 4 items. I turned to her and jokingly said, “I wish I had your bill.”
She looked down at her spare basket and said quietly, “This is what I could afford. You see, I wish I had your cart.” She gave me a forced smile.
Ah, crap. Insert foot into mouth.
I gave her a knowing smile back. The kind that comes from understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and try to stretch your meager grocery budget. It wasn’t that long ago I went without food for myself to provide my infant with a very expensive special formula for digestion. Those day, the days you are trying to figure out what you can sacrifice, make you a parent worthy of your child. That is parenting in the trenches at its finest. It makes you come out stronger and better than before.
So I pulled out $10 cash and gave it to the cashier. I told her to put it towards the ladies groceries. She needed it more than me.
As I was putting my groceries in my car the lady came up to me with tears in her eyes and thanked me. She explained that she had little ones and sometimes things are really tight. I gave her a hug and told her we have all been there and to take care of the little ones. She smiled at me and said Friday was payday and she was going to pay it forward.
To me, what I did was very little. The lady at the store reminded me to look around and really pay attention to those around me. I was once her, needing a small act to restore my faith in humanity and that I could make it as a parent. There were many little acts of kindness that went a long way in making me not only a better mom, but a better person. It takes a village to successfully parent. Be part of that village. Please remember to look around and spread kindness.