Finley turned one on Monday. One! We were at the tail end of a North Carolina snow shut down, thank you, Jonas, so I decided to put an end to cabin fever and venture out to celebrate. To where, you ask? None other than the mini play park at Concord Mills. I'm not sure who was left with more germs; us or the park. Either way, some good old fashioned fun was had, and I was hopeful for a lengthy nap time. Nora is now a pro on the slides and, thankfully, waiting in line. Finley has discovered the joy in her mother’s obnoxious yet enthusiastic “weeeeee”. Apparently my pre-nap strategy was not unique as I found myself in the company of many, many moms.
One such mom looked remarkably familiar: faded yoga pants, slouchy t-shirt, ponytail, and heavy eyes. She was anchored by two snacking toddlers and a newborn demanding his next feeding. It was apparent she was where we’ve all been: the meeting of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. After several awkward and prolonged glances her way, I encountered a rather unique experience for me. I had the overwhelming urge to pray for her, for peace and the assurance that she is doing a great work. But I didn't. I chose to remain quiet before bribing my toddler with a cookie in hopes to avoid a parting meltdown.
I drove to the closest Starbucks drive thru in order to procure caffeine for me and celebratory chocolate chip cookies for the littles. Idling in line, I mentally chastised myself, assured I was a coward for failing to yield to my heart’s prompting.
Then the oversized pickup truck in front of me started backing up. I couldn’t honk or reverse in time to avoid contact with his hitch (or at least what I think is called a hitch). We both got out to access the damage, but 5 mph doesn’t pack a big punch. As he returned to his Ford 100-something, I returned to my guilt and eagerly awaited my turn at the window.
Then the heart prompting snuck up on me again. Pay for the car behind you. Since Dave Ramsey always makes me feel like I need to err on the side of frugality, I decided against it. Alas, the store window slid to my left, and I was taken aback to learn that reverse man, as I will forever refer to him, paid for my order. My shoulders relaxed and a smile danced on my lips. Reverse man’s kindness felt good to receive.
Kindness feels good to receive, so give. Lesson learned.