Today I was reminded of how simple words, gestures and smiles have meaning, both on the giver and receiver, and how I have the power to brighten somebody’s day with a bit of compassion.
I had to hit the grocery store for just a few staples like coffee and eggs on my way home. I was in a hurry. When is anybody not hurried these days?
After parking my car, running in and grabbing the items I needed, I made my way to one of the self-check aisles. The nicely dressed young mother in front of me had just a few things too, but unlike me, she also had her two small children with her. I made eye contact with the smiling baby looking over his mother’s shoulder as she unloaded her cart, scanned and then bagged the items with her one free hand. She never took her eyes off her other son, whose eyes sparkled with the curiosity and mischief of a four-year-old adventurer. I couldn’t help but admire her poise.
I also noticed the stunning burgundy and cream blanket scarf she wore under her dressy coat, and I thought to myself, “This is one put together mama.” Then I noticed the shiny thread of drool connecting her baby’s happy mouth with the beautiful fabric of her scarf. I caught myself chuckling. She turned, caught my gaze at her baby and grinned back at me in a moment of connection. We instantly bonded as sisters-in-shopping, even though I don’t think she had any idea that she was now sporting a glob of drool.
I started to open my mouth to say something when I heard the credit card computer urge her to scan her card and complete her purchase. Right then, as if on cue, the toddler plopped on the floor and started to cry. That seemed to startle the baby who then joined the not-so-joyful noise. So much for poise.
Before I could even think, I was offering to help her. In what appeared to be one fluid motion she thrust the baby into my arms as she scooped up the older child and spoke to him in hushed tones. That baby clung to me as I did the familiar “mama bounce.” It took just a few seconds for my sister-in-shopping to calm her crying child and regain her composure before she was ready to take the baby from me.
“Thank you. Thank you so much,” she said with sincere gratitude.
“You’re very welcome. I was just about to tell you how much I love your scarf.”
She glanced down, babe in arms, and noticed for the first time the drool on her burgundy scarf.
“A mother’s glamorous life,” she laughed, before making her way out of the store graceful and in charge once again.
I know I helped her out a tiny bit in that brief encounter, but I also felt encouraged by her grace and acceptance.
How do you offer kindness? Do you find it easy to compliment other women? We’d love to hear from you!