With every flake of snow that came down, we three got more and more excited as Nemo hit New England. Something about the promise of getting snowed in makes me feel like a child. No school! No work! Playtime! Sleeping in! Hot cocoa! What a lovely extended weekend it was. We woke up Saturday to a blanket (or a thick comforter, really) of untouched white. Then, the neighbors all started to peek out, wearing bulky coats and carrying shovels, chatting about the snow while trying to get snow blowers started up. I grew up in a rural location, so this idea of a neighborhood is something I don’t take for granted.
Chris got to use the snow blower I gave him two years ago for the first time, first clearing our driveway and then helping a neighbor. I threw on my ski jacket (which I realized I’ve had since I was 18, with the ski passes still attached to prove it) and shoveled our front porch and walkway.
I did indulge in hot cocoa as well.
That night, the neighborhood all rustled up some snacks and cocktails to have an impromptu gathering. Anderson stole the show, getting quite excited when we all started dancing to The Beach Boys and The Bee Gees.
Family time, visits from loved ones, reading Are You My Mother over and over again, picking out my seeds for spring, and sacking out watching the Grammy’s…oh I don’t want it to end.
Thursday, before the snow hit, I had an experience in the grocery store that was so kind and unexpected that I actually choked up a little on the spot. Chris had to work late and we needed groceries before the flurries started, so I took Anderson and went to the grocery store. How naive was I? I thought I’d “just pop over quickly for a few things.” When I pulled into the parking lot, I should have just turned around and decided we’d live on cans of soup for the weekend. It was packed.
A woman with a kind face saw me pulling Anderson out of the car and said, “Honey, you should grab that cart because there aren’t any more in the store.” I thought she was exaggerating. The cart she was pointing to was not anywhere near my car, but at the far end of the parking lot. I listened and grabbed the cart, wheeling a laughing baby through the parking lot, still unaware.
I walked in and the store was packed with carts. I mean, it was hard to get around. I first went to the produce aisle and it was literally wiped out. No celery. No broccoli. No carrots. No romaine lettuce. I had never seen anything like that. Aside from the lack of items, people were just so mean and utterly rude. I almost lost it when a woman walked by and whacked my little 10 month old unapologetically with her oversized purse. He smiled at her, so I let it go. I’d rather teach him to be calm than to see momma lose her temper. It took me over an hour to just get through the store. By then, we were invested, you know?
Then, the line. Oh, the line. You couldn’t even really tell what line you were in. There was a young family behind me and they had an 8 month old boy, Liam. He and Anderson were fascinated by one another. Anderson kept waving at him. They lightened the cranky mood of some of those in line with us. Even so, the tension was building. I had a bunch of items and this family had only a few. I motioned for them to get in front of me and hoped and prayed Anderson wouldn’t start melting down because we were nearing meal time at this point. 20 minutes later, we were still in line. I saw that same look of anxiety on the face of Liam’s mom. The “how much time before the baby starts getting twitchy” look.
The guy behind me kept talking about how long everyone was taking. The guy behind him was sighing obnoxiously with an intermittent, “Come on,” in his thick, Boston accent . A woman behind that guy was freely using the F word for emphasis. Then, I realized I was in the self-checkout line. I had more items than you are supposed to have for self-check out. I felt myself getting more anxious. I watched Liam’s family check out. I started to pull up to the machine, hearing sighs and F words. I started to scan my items as if it were a race, hoping for no issues. About 10 items in, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye picking up our stuff and thought quickly that I must have started scanning before Liam’s family was done bagging their items. I was wrong. Liam’s mom was BAGGING MY GROCERIES as Liam and his dad headed to their car. “Oh my gosh! You don’t have to do that!” I exclaimed. She said, “I’m not letting you do this alone with an infant.” She smiled so warmly. I felt a rush of gratitude. She bagged every single thing. I paid and then I hugged her. All of those rude people, and I was lucky to have the nicest fellow mom in the store in front of me in line. Small, random acts of kindness are precious.