My husband is in his busy season again, so he is out of town for five weeks in a row. Home most weekends, but not this weekend. I’m right in the middle of a long, two-week glimpse of what single motherhood would be like. And hats off to those who have to do this all the time, because it is HARD!
At the grocery store yesterday, I had both girls in the cart, and two boys walking beside me. I was very proud of their behavior. They didn’t ask for random items, didn’t run (much), didn’t shout, and were just generally helpful. I got a lot of smiles and only one face with raised eyebrows and that-lady-is-crazy look.
Out in the parking lot, I was having difficulty lifting Shiny Boots out of the shopping cart. (Amazing when I think of how God strengthened me to lift her straight up over my head to get her out of the van window after our accident last month.) Her boot kept getting stuck on the cart, I just don’t have the strength to struggle with it and lift her up at the same time.
Suddenly, a male voice was behind me asking, “Can I help you?”
It was a kind, chivalrous stranger, who effortlessly lifted Shiny out of her cart, and set her down in the van. He offered to help me load the groceries, but I told him I would be fine with that part. I thanked him and told him what a blessing he had been, and he was on his way.
My boys have been learning about the middle ages, and are particularly enamoured with the tales of chivalry in King Arthur’s court. I was pleased to be able to point out a modern-day example of chivalry in action. This deed really stands out in today’s world.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a similar situation, pregnant and struggling with some every-day task, where passersby are too absorbed in their wireless devices to notice the struggle. Or, if they do, they merely laugh good-naturedly, or make some intended-to-be-friendly comment about how full my hands are.
It’s not that I expect the help of strangers. These children bring more blessings than burdens and I am glad to have the little struggles with the great joys. I certainly bear no ill-will to those who pass me by without helping as I struggle a child out of a grocery cart. In the end, I always manage.
But how nice to be blessed by the chivalry of a stranger. It just made my day easier and brighter, a bright spot that I especially appreciate right now, in the midst of this long time with my husband away. I pray that my boys (and indeed, my girls, too) grow up to be the kind of people who are mindful of the needs of others around them, and have the heart to wish to offer help in these little ways.