Photo by Sierra Tierra (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierratierra/)
Yesterday, I took the boys back-to-school shopping. Really, I was just trying to get jeans for E, because (deep sigh inserted here) he is now an almost-teenager and he really wants me to buy him more expensive jeans. I get it, I do. I was a teenager once too, and what I wanted more than anything, fashion-wise, were some Guess jeans. Or Guess anything. I had this marvelous great-aunt who I could always count on to buy me the cool stuff. But back to E, I do understand. This does not mean that my budget does, but I figure perhaps if I space out the shopping a little bit I can at least attempt to get him some of what he’s asking for.
So we arrived at the mall. I got Baby L loaded in his stroller and the four of us made our way into the first store. We headed over to the young men’s department and picked up an assortment of jeans for E to try on. At the dressing rooms, E went back to go try them on and I parked L in front of the three-way mirror. It was priceless watching him charm and flirt with the multitude of blonde, toothy babies smiling back at him in the mirror. I kept trying to get a picture of it but B kept jumping in and waving his arms around so the shot never came out quite like I wanted it to. After we were done getting E his jeans, we headed on through the mall. We visited a few other stores and finally everyone was happy. Mission accomplished.
To get back to our vehicle, we had to go back through the first store. We made our way through towards the doors and when we were almost there a woman called out.
“Excuse me? Excuse me, ma’am!”
We stopped and turned and she stepped up to me.
“I’m sorry,” she said “But I just had to tell you. I was watching your family earlier-”
Uh-oh, I thought. PLEASE say that no one did something awful. E had bought some candy and then decided to throw the bag away and put the candy in his pocket. Really, child?! Or please don’t let this be the day that my children decide that shoplifting might be a fun thing to try. I do not have the energy for that, please. Or maybe someone broke something. I didn’t hear anything shatter, but you never know what my boys might do when my back is turned.
The woman continued. “I was watching your family earlier, and I raised three boys. By myself. And I now have four grandchildren. I want to tell you that your children are just so well behaved.”
I looked at her in surprise and turned to the boys. All three were staring at us.
Us? My boys? Was she talking to the right family?? Clearly she had missed me bribing baby L with Dum-Dum suckers to keep him quiet. Or the moment when the older two found the foam Batman baseball bats by the registers and proceeded to sword fight with them. Or when baby L was yelling his brother’s name at the top of his lungs, repeatedly, because E wasn’t answering him. Surely she didn’t really mean us.
I looked back to her and she nodded her head.
“They are. They are polite and kind and just so well-mannered.”
“Well, thank you,!” I stammered. I leaned over and gave her a quick hug. “That is very kind of you.”
She smiled at me.
“I just really wanted to tell you that. You should be proud of your beautiful family. You are doing a wonderful job.” With that, she turned and walked away.
What a kind, wonderful thing to do to someone. To just randomly tell them how wonderful their children are. Or that they are doing a great job. I have those moments sometimes … had one on Friday, actually… where I am at the checkout at the grocery store or wherever and my kids are making me bonkers and B has begged me yet again to buy just this one thing and baby L is reaching for every Us and People magazine within reach and I just want to abandon my cart and walk away RIGHT NOW.
Then you go and meet someone like this sweet lady, who went out of her way to stop me and tell me this. I told the boys, as we walked to the car, “This… this you should remember. Every once in a while, you should be that stranger who just says something completely kind and wonderful to someone.”
My mission this week is to pay it forward to someone. Maybe that’s not quite right…maybe I’m paying it back… but regardless, I want to do that for someone this week. And to that woman, whoever you are, thank you. You made my boys (and I) very proud.
Have a beautiful Sunday, my friends.