Target. It’s my happy place. It’s the place I can “one stop shop” for everything I need (and don’t need). It’s bright and happy inside. I can grab a Starbucks and meander through aisle after aisle of red goodness.
My children have almost single-handedly ruined Target for me. It’s not as happy with three small children; three small children who fight, scream, run, hang on the cart, and want want want want and then whine whine whine whine.
Today – alone – I could have ran in and out of the store with everything we need for our family trip in 30 minutes flat, but with three small children – it took close to 2.5 hours. Not the relaxing stroll through heaven on earth as I would have loved.
By the end of our shopping experience, and right about the time we pulled up to the cashier, the little started grabbing the last minute snacks off the shelves and then throwing a fit when I said “no”, the oldest was trying to annoy his sister, and the middle smashed her face on the cart goofing around which lead to *alot* of blood for a cut lip.
Women and men around me started *kindly* grinning, a few “been theres”, and one woman even left our aisle because she didn’t want to deal with the chaos of my family. I tried to stay calm. I avoided eye contact at all cost because I didn’t want anyone to see me falling apart.
But then Natalie, the Target cashier, said “Who wants to scan? Who wants to bag?” It threw me off guard. Is that even allowed? She’s too young to have kids, how did she know that I needed this?
My eyes started welling up with tears because of the grace and patience and empathy another human (a stranger) gave me- gave my kids- at that very moment when I was most vulnerable. My two older kids got to work while I dealt with the little one’s tantrum. My stress and anxiety was muffled by the feeling of gratitude and hope.
This is the village that we are always referring to. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be limited to your close friends and family.
I ran to the Starbucks line and bought her a gift card for the kindness she showed my family today and told her that we needed more people like her in this world.
Thank you so much, Natalie.
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