Last week I met that woman again. You know the one. That woman in the grocery store who, when I was a new mom, was always there telling me what I was doing wrong. She was there again this week.
“That poor baby, his feet must be SO cold,” she said with a shiver. “And, no coats on those children?”
That’s what she said. I guess she meant well. When I was a new mom, I wanted to scream at her. I never did scream at her, but I did let the scream echo in my heart. I let it hurt me inside. I was not always sure that I was a great mom. I did not know how to measure that.
Last week, I did not even want to scream at her. I am not sure what I said. It was something noncommittal, something reasonably pleasant, but without much thought.
“Oh, I think they are probably used to the cold.”
The truth is that Andrew and Gladys’ coats were in the cart, buried under groceries. George was wearing socks, I just hadn’t bothered putting his shoes on. I carried him. I am a mother of three children. I focus on my task. Shoes are optional if they are not required to protect the feet (anyway, he likes to take them off). I had carried him into the car to pick up Gladys from preschool. I had carried him into preschool. I carried him into the grocery store. I thought his shoes were in the car.
I smiled and commented on the first snowfall. She said something apologetic and wandered off.
I carried George into the house. I unloaded the groceries. There was barely time to turn around before we were getting costumes on for trick or treat at the local senior home. I looked for the shoes as I explained to Andrew and Gladys that we were going on a service project.
“But we get candy, right?” Andrew asked, buckling himself in.
“Yes, of course, they will give you candy because they want to see your smile. Your happiness makes them happy. Where are those shoes?”
“Oh, so all we have to do is go there and smile and say trick or treat?”
“Yes. Think about how good it makes feel when you see someone happy because of something you did. Sometimes the best kind of gift you can give to someone is to just smile at him. Of course, George will need shoes.”
Then it dawned on me. When I pulled George out of his crib from his nap, I had carried his shoes with me out to the car. I had also carried a few other things. Since the driveway was snowy I had put the shoes on the top of the minivan . . . . uh oh.
“Kids, we might be a few minutes late for the senior home.”
“We’re going shoe hunting! Everyone look out the window for George’s shoes!!!”
We found them. One was on the side of the road in the neighborhood (above).
The other shoe was in the middle of the main street of town, a four lane road. So, if you happened to see some crazy woman running down the street in the snow, chasing after a child’s saddle shoe. That was me. My children gave me a great cheer to celebrate my success (and, they also told their father, who was real impressed too).
I know. I should pay more attention to my kid’s shoes.
I know. It’s dangerous to run down the street (I checked for traffic, I promise).