I will never forget my encounter when my third child, Dino, was a mere 10 months old. I had dropped the girls off at pre-school and first grade. I was tired and needed a break. Sadly items like milk, turkey and bread were more needed than my break that day. So I spent my precious time to 'relax' in our favorite grocery store (and still is if you can believe that ;) ).
Dino was in the cart strapped to his fancy cart cover I found on Ebay and he began to cry. He wanted to be helped, nursed and loved. I just wanted to get out of the grocery store.
Quickly he decided to distract himself with items in the cart. One of these items was the peppers inside the plastic bag.
Scurrying between aisles, grabbing the items from the list, Dino continued playing with the bag. I didn't know how long the bliss would last so I rushed.
An older woman stopped my cart and began to shake her finger at me saying my son should not be playing with a plastic produce bag.
"You know what, "I snapped bag. "At this moment, I really don't care. I have exactly 40 minutes to pick up my two daughters and this keeps him quiet."
She gave me a look of pity and I started to cry, really cry.
"I am so tired, "I sobbed. "He won't sleep. I have so much to take care of. I do love him and I don't want him to get hurt. I am just tired."
She put her cart to the side and hugged me. She began talking with Dino and then suggested we walk over to the bakery case and get him a roll. She found a big tough Kaiser roll and gave it to him. The plastic bag was gone and he was happily gumming a giant roll.
I thanked her and apologized for being so terrible earlier.
She hugged me again and told me she completely understood.
She explained, "Helping you just made my day. I just came back from doctor's and my cancer has spread. They are giving me 3 months."
My world froze when she said this. I didn't know what to say. She was dealing with the most tragic news a person can get and I here I was whining about my lack of sleep.
I hugged her and told her how sorry I was. She told me she was unafraid and eager to meet the Lord.
We soon parted ways but our chance meeting made a huge impact on my life.
The rest of the day I savored every scream, whine, fight and traffic jam. It was life and I was honored to be involved.
I never saw my friend again, even though I tried looking for her every time I shopped.
She has also made my grocery shopping sane, if not fun. The second I get in the store, even the kids know, we head straight for the bakery for a roll or baked treat of their choice. And every time they pick something, I smile and remember the lady who put everything into perspective.