An Unexpected Pat on the Back

An Unexpected Pat on the Back September 5, 2008

After a particularly unpleasant trip to Trader Joe’s at our upscale outdoor shopping mall this morning (I’ll spare you all the details), I decided to make it up to the kids by stopping by the bakery in the super-upscale indoor “farmer’s market” for some sample cups of their homemade granola. Goods at this “farmer’s market” cost far more than they do at the grocery store, and everything is administered by people in costume–people dressed like Dutch/Amish farmers serve soft pretzels and homemade goods; the meat vendor is always in a butcher’s get-up but it’s clear he hasn’t been butchering anything; the produce guys also sell shushi and they’re all Asian and dressed in Asian chef outfits. It’s kind of comical really. To top it all off, everyone who shops there is quite abrupt and rushed and usually mad. Someone actually told my mom to leave the place when she was there on a Saturday moving slowly through the aisles with Bella and Bean in tow. We just go there for free samples when I’m in a bad mood.

So, riff raff that we are, we entered the “farmer’s market” bashing the barely-wide-enough doorway with the double stroller, me sweating (this is our M.O. these days as we enter any building) as we clogged the doorway, preventing angry, rushing people from entering. A hot little mom with one beautiful two year old looked at me with pity, and I turned my nose into the air to show I didn’t care. We raced to the granola sample table at the bakery to avoid other interactions.

As I was scooping our sample cups, the baker/cashier addressed me (oh great, can’t I just swipe my samples and leave in peace). But she said:

“Your children are beautiful. God bless you. Here, what sample slices of bread would you like? Please, I insist. Here are two honey whole wheat slices for your kids (they were huge slices) and here are two s’mores bread slices for you (also huge, full of dark chocolate pieces). You need the extra energy and you deserve a treat. I was in your shoes once, and I couldn’t afford to hire a sitter to stay with my children while I grocery shopped, so I just had to gut through it. You’re doing a great job. Here are a few extra napkins for your kids while they eat the bread. Is there anything else I can give you?”

Wow. It’s really, really rare for me to have an interaction like this these days. God bless all you wonderful people out there who give struggling moms a little extra pat on the back (and slice of chocolate bread) when we most need it.

So we took our feast and sat outside at tables in the pretty plaza and feasted on our granola and AMAZING bakery bread, chatting together, enjoying some pleasant summer weather, and being friendly to passers-by and birds. The kids were so happy. It was easily enough food to be my kids’ lunch, so I don’t even have to dirty dishes or spend time preparing food mid-day.

God bless that lovely lady. Seriously.
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