Can I carry your bags?

November 22, 2013

Dear Friend,
I don’t know your name. But I don’t think I’ll forget your face. During one of my most difficult days as a parent you came to my rescue. It began with, “Can I help you? Can I carry your bags?”

After several small battles with an overly tired three year old, you found me on the floor of Target, between two cashier work stations, humiliation and frustration evident on my face. “This. Is NOT okay,” I was saying to my son, preparing to make a “small” sacrifice leaving my $76 worth of purchases behind so I could pry him from the work station wall he was clung to and leave the store; the stares and his screaming needed to stop.

That particular Friday had already been long. I was in the thick of it when you appeared. Concerned, with a smile, you gently asked “Can I carry your bags?”

Though I didn’t want to trouble you, you were there, in front of me, offering to help when I really needed it. I let out a deep breath and grinned back. You scooped up my lamp shade and plastic Target bags while I scooped up my son – still screaming loudly about Legos I said no to and the bedding I had put back. Hugging him tightly while he thrashed about we walked quickly toward the exit and left the building.

With a visibly upset child in my arms people stared the entire walk through the parking lot, me smiling through tears, you saying kind things like, “You are handling this like a champ! You are so amazing!” which made for more tears, but was so nice to hear.

We reached my vehicle, my son realizing the worst of his temper tantrums had not been successful. The screaming stopped. The crying continued. He said, “I wuv you. I so sorry.”

I opened the vehicle door, set him in his seat, fastened his seat belt. Tears still soaking my cheeks, I hugged him and sternly said, “I love you too. This was NOT okay.”

I closed the vehicle door, turned, and stood there for a moment smiling at you.

“I know how hard this is. I’ve been there. I have two sons. One 17, one 24. That little guy in there is going to turn out to be an amazing boy because you are his mother,” you said to me.

The tears started down my face again and I hugged you. I have never been so thankful for kindness from a stranger.

I think about that day a lot. My son does too. And when we think about it, and talk about it, we talk about the lady who came to help. We talk about you. Thank you for making a difference in our lives. Thank you for carrying my bags.

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