Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Random by Design

Have you ever noticed when you are grocery shopping, or in a large crowd like Worlds of Fun, or a big concert, you sometimes cross paths with the same people? Sometimes you see the same people at every turn. I believe there are reasons beyond the surface for everything under the sun. Sometimes it is quite obvious that you are just shopping at the same rate as someone else, but other times, there is more.

Last night I was almost finished with my weekly 5 pm footrace in the local Dillons when I steered my cart into a long curve around a fresh fruit display. Luckily, I was to the right because a tall black haired woman, dressed in black, with three black haired children in tow, was coming around the bend at the same time. She was taller, younger, in a bigger hurry, had more people on her team, (though I could probably take that baby on), and she was in "go" mode.

It did not bother me. I know how hard it is to work, run a household, raise children and do the shopping, all while ol' what's-his-name is doing whatever. After I checked out and was heading for the door, the warrior amazon woman with her three children barreled through the exit, cutting me off once again. It was not entirely rude. Another two feet and it would have been rude. I followed her and her children out the door and witnessed a little family scenario that tweaked the heartstrings.

The warrior woman dropped her keys in the cross walk where the after-work traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, was heating up. Everyone was impatient. Her older children, a girl and a boy, scrambled to pick up the keys for their mother. They had a minor tussle over who was to hand them back to their mother. They were trying to help. Each wanted to be helpful to her.

She was in no mood for it and shouted at the children, far too loudly. "I said give me those keys!". Being a mother myself, I know she really wanted to say, "I said give me those keys, goddamn it!" Which I probably would have said to my kids if I had been in her place and in her mood.

The older children were behind their mother, and they were crestfallen. The little boy especially was hurt, hanging his head and resolutely trailing after his mother. I truly wanted to give him a hug and tell him to toughen up. Getting along with the powerful women in his life is not going to be easy. Better he learns it now.

I also wanted to give him the hug I should have given my own son when he was little and I was too busy and distracted to see him clearly. An ache in my heart made me consider driving all the way to Lawrence, Kansas just to hug my adult son. I wanted to tell him how sorry I am for every time I hurt his little boy heart. He knows his crazy mother well, and would take it in stride, but I did not do it.

When I got my cart of groceries back to my truck, who was parked beside me in her big black SUV? None other than the tall woman and her three children. I tried to stay out of her way. She might have backed over me and claimed it was an accident. She drove away with her three children all securely and safely strapped in, the groceries stowed in the rear.

I wished we lived in a society where I could have offered her a hug. She needed it more than her little boy.


Anonymous said...

You should have driven to Lawrence. You needed a hug as much as your little boy!

Li'l Ned said...

It seems to be the human condition that we don't understand until we are too old to do anything about it, how hard it was for OUR parents. I definitely have had the wish about going back and giving hugs.