This post will start quite negative, because, let's face it, it was a rough day. However, if you bear with me, I promise to bring about the lesson I learned in it all. I think all of the things that were horrible about the day just made the blessing that much bigger ... This is Tuesday ... My morning began at 2:00 a.m. when my growth spurting baby woke up, ready to eat. After he slammed down 5 oz, I put him back to bed. I was back in bed by 3:00 a.m. for another short nap. Benjamin decided he'd like more food at 5:30 a.m., so I was up again. This time, it wasn't worth going back to sleep, even though he was very efficient in his efforts. He was restless in his sleep, and I wasn't going to get any myself with the monitors going off all of the time. So, I got up and started my day. I knew I needed to go to Sam's Club and to Meijers during the morning errand period (I have a two hour window in the morning when both kids are awake and reasonably happy) and that was going to be tight. So, I had to be efficient. The kids weren't interested. Neither of them were having their morning dirty diapers (I like to try and leave AFTER that because grocery stores and parking lots are NOT fun places to change dirty cloth diapers), and both were very clingy. I spent the time getting ready, trading off who was crying (whichever baby didn't have Mommy carrying them around was left screaming as if their life was over).
Eventually we made it into the van, packed and ready by 9:45 ... perfect timing to drive across town and get to Sam's by 10:00. I pulled into the parking lot, just as Benjamin fell asleep and stopped screaming. It was 10:05, perfect. I surveyed the lot ... no discarded carts, awesome. I was prepared to walk Kayleigh in, but I'd have to wake up Ben to strap him in the Baby Bjorn. As I was going through my wallet (I always have the Sam's club card in my pocket because I have my hands full of other things and I want it easily accessible), I discovered ... no card. Then I recalled that Kayleigh emptied the entire contents of my wallet into her room. I must have not seen the card when I was replacing them. Cool. No Sam's club (and formula was the basic reason we even ventured out today!), so I'd have to buy soy formula at the more expensive store. Driving home to find the card definitely wasn't going to fit the time table. So, off to Meijers we went.
In the parking lot, a woman was not carefully watching her children. They ran out in front of me as they were leaving the store. Fortunately, I had seen them from behind the pillars and knew they were coming. I had already stopped. The car coming from the other direction was not as careful and SCREECHED to a halt (equally at fault for going so fast in a parking lot!) with a blaring horn (THUS startling both of my kids and sending them into a screaming frenzy). As I turned into a lane, the same kids darted out in front of my van again. I just parked in the middle of the lane until their mother loaded them into their vehicle ...
By the time I entered the store, I had the kids quieted down and we began conquering our long shopping list. Mid-way through the list I feel the tell-tale groans and wiggles of my 3 month old. Awesome. He's strapped to me AND doing his business ... (well, at least he's going ...) I didn't have the diaper bag inside, and this would have cost us more valuable time, anyway. So, I resolved to let the cloth diaper be its sturdy self and get him when we got back to the van. As we enter the checkout lane (only two were open with a cashier, and I don't brave the self-checkout with 2 kids and a week's+ worth of groceries), we prepare for a long wait. Kayleigh looks at me and says, "Mommy ... Poopy ... and then proceeds to grunt." I'm sweating from carrying Ben around, as well as the exertion of trying to hurry, while finding each specific item for a few recipes I'm cooking. AND I now have two very stinky children ... The woman in front of me starts freakin' out. "I threw my credit card! Where is it? Everyone help me find my card." I spotted it and grabbed Benny for extra support while reaching to pick it up. She said, "Don't touch it! Just point!" I was so taken aback, but I pointed her in the general direction and let her reach to grab her own card. I was quite embarrassed though, it's not like I was going to steal it after she'd just broadcasted that it was on the ground!
Anyway, I reach the register and, the cashier is less than sympathetic to my situation (I don't expect pity, but people are usually friendly when they see how full my hands are). She grunts a hello, ignores my cheerful daughter who is trying to talk to her, and is less than helpful about turning the groceries to a reachable position. I'm trying to keep my cool but am on a slow, quiet burn, just wondering what obstacle I'll have to overcome next when I truly believe God decided to smile upon us.
An elderly man, rises from the bench beside the door. He limps over, with the help of his cane, and says, "Ma'am, would accept a hand from me? I remember those days ... long ago ... I can load your cart." He braces himself against the turning grocery wheel and places a single bag at a time into the cart. I was speechless ... He didn't stop until I had completed the transactions, I was ready to take off. I thanked him profusely, asked if there was anything I could do for him, and he said, "No, your beautiful little girl was smiling so sweetly. I just couldn't resist. Hang in there, these days are precious." As he turned to walk away I noticed he was wearing WWII veteran's clothing. I believe I'll be making a donation to the local veteran's facility this week. It'll take some research, but I'll do it.
I walked away with tears brimming in my eyes, and saw some very very sheepish faces in the checkout lane behind me. This man's simple gesture changed my attitude for the entire day, and I'm sure the rest of the checkout lane learned a thing or two. Thanks, Jesus for the reminder that it doesn't take much to make someone's day. And that keeping our eyes open for simply ways to help can be a catalyst for incredible change.