To the mom at the White Marsh Target during last week’s monsoon:
You must have seen me passing through the first sliding glass door of the exit corridor quite unsuspectingly as I had no idea or clear preparation for the heavens that had opened up outside while we’d been shopping, creating nothing short of a monsoon. I had my nine month old son sitting up in the front of my basket, his chubby legs dangling from the child seat and kicking happily through the air sock-free, along with about five bags of heavy groceries (and, okay you got me, some other miscellaneous items from the dollar section and perhaps other non-essential splurges. I know you weren’t judging me.). Oh, and no umbrella.
I looked up to see that what was waiting for me upon exiting the next set of sliding glass doors would be a downpour of water ready to drench me, my son and our groceries (and other new possessions). I pulled my basket off to the side of the corridor so others could pass as I considered my options for getting my child, myself and our newly purchased possessions safely to our car located across the neighboring parking lot. My son looked up at me puzzled, wondering, I think, why we’d stopped. I looked at him, equally puzzled, wondering how to solve this puzzle of getting us from point A to point B somewhat intact and as dry as possible.
You had also pulled to the other side of the exit corridor and you must have seen my baby and I having a silent exchange of looks and wordless conversation. My face to his said, “what should we do?” The rain started coming down harder and faster and wetter. It was almost completely dark outside in midday due to the clouds and storm.
You crossed the corridor walking from the side where you pulled your cart over, to the side where I pulled my cart over. You reminded me of my mom, someone who was willing to help a stranger. You told me you remembered what it was like to be in a situation like that with young kids, not knowing what to do and on your own to figure it out with young children looking to you for direction.
You offered to watch the items in my cart and my son while I ran to pull around the car and load by the sidewalk. Your offer was more than generous. And I did trust you. Perhaps the scenario you proposed could have worked out and if I’d also had my three year old with me, you better believe I would have taken you up on it.
But, instead, I looked down at my son and smiled. He looked up at me, and he smiled back. He knew I’d made a decision and everything that needed to be said between us transpired completely through expression. We were going to make a run for it. We were going to get soaked. But we were going to have fun doing it. I picked up my son and thanked you for your very kind offer. We made our run for it. We were drenched. But it was surprisingly refreshing and a memory I’ll forever cherish from a moment I spent with him.
I wanted to tell you how much it meant to me that you had the courage to come up to me, a stranger, and even make the offer you did. Mom to mom, I’ll never forget it. Even though I didn’t take you up on it (this time), I hope you won’t be deterred to offer help to any other moms in the future who may look like they could use a hand. Because next time, it might be me again. And I won’t be turning you down a second time.
Unprepared for a storm after shopping with my baby at Target