To the mom at Target tonight. I could hear that sweet cry of your hungry newborn aisles away. The sound made my uterus skip a beat, that sweet little voice. I thought right away about those snuggly soft baby blankets, the sweet smell of a newborn’s head, the tiny little diapers covering an even smaller tush. As I got closer to the check out, I felt your pain. I remember the feeling of desperation trying to get the groceries loaded and trying to paying before causing a scene. Trying to hush the baby, and dig for a checkbook at the same time. Feeling overly tired, frantic, and overwhelmed by this tiny little life that is disrupting everyone’s shopping experience.
As I got closer to those sweet cries, I saw you standing there with a cart full of Target bags, you digging in your diaper bag that sat at your feet. I saw your two-year-old throwing a fit next to you. Sitting on the floor, crying, and starting to yell. I saw you get down at eye level, trying to defuse the situation. Trying to negotiate with the terrorist in attempt of getting out of the store without the wrestling match. I saw you toss the diaper bag over your shoulder when terms could not be met, and grab the two-year-old with the typical two-year-old one-handed hold. Pushing your screaming newborn in the cart with one hand and holding the waist of the two-year-old with the other.
I saw you smile. I saw you laughing and shaking your head at the situation. However, I also saw you cry inside. I know your pain. I know it’s the end of the day and you are spent. I know there will be tears dripping down your face on the way home. I know you will take a few extra minutes in the driveway when you get home tonight. I know you will sit there breathing deep, praying for the strength to make it inside.
I stand there in line to check out, my cart empty. First time it’s been empty in months! A gallon of milk is the taking the spot of where a toddler usually sits. A purse full of spilled fruit snacks, empty apple sauce pouches, and one lone baby sox sits where my baby usually is. My cart is empty tonight, it is quiet.
To the mom at Target tonight, don’t fear you are not alone. We have all been there. We have all smiled in the face of chaos, we all have pretended to think the situation is funny in our lame efforts to fight back tears. We have been there, we have felt your pain. Just know, some night your cart will be quiet too.