January 8, 2015 by CassieCravings
It was right before Christmas, and I just needed one more thing to complete the marathon that was holiday shopping. One more thing. That one tiny thing had led us to three previous stores. My curly headed boy trotted all around me and flitted from one sparkly item to the next. He sang and danced and didn’t seem to mind a bit that the fourth store was out of stock of the coveted thing needed to finish our list. One more blasted thing!
We loaded back up in the car and weaved our way through the maze of the jammed parking lot. The already normally nightmarish traffic had multiplied. Every resident of Houston and the surrounding areas happened to be in the same parking lot with the intent of going to the same highway and then to same store where we were headed. I turned up the cheery Christmas carols and sighed deeply. “Christmas is happy. Christmas is happy.” I muttered to the tune of jingling joy on the radio.
I continued my mantra as my little one stepped on my toes climbing out of the car. I continued it still when the lady in the minivan flipped me off in the parking lot. I even chanted my mantra after a man shoved himself in front of me to snatch the last cart, though I did break for a moment to wish him a wobbly wheel on his buggy.
We waded our way through the sea of shoppers to the desired aisle. There I found empty shelves, save a few discarded items from indecisive shoppers. One more thing. Five stores. Empty shelves.
I fought the urge to cry. I knew it was silly, but there it was: the stinging tears behind my eyes, the sudden realization of how tired I was, the rage against the cart thief.
Just as I grasped for the end of my rope, there was a tug at my sleeve. “Not now, Honey,” I begged. A sticky hand slipped into mine. His hand was cool and calm against my seething palms.
“Count to ten justht thisth.” He counted slowly and with purpose. “Now take five deep breafs. Hewre I’s help you.” His cheeks puffed and sucked in great big breaths. “Tell me exthackly how you feel, but wremembewr: wraisthe youwr wowrdsth and not youwr voice.”
I plopped myself onto the dirty, cold tile of the store. I pulled him close to me and thanked him. He returned the thanks with a sloppy kiss, “‘Dat o’tay. You alwaysth watch out fowr me. We’s a good team.” He gave me one more squeeze as a shopper stepped over us.
It was that moment that centered me, grounded me. It was a little boy who recognized a need and met that need with gentle, insightful words. Even when I thanked him, he was humble and grateful. I felt those tears behind my eyes again. But this time they were due to my own humility and my appreciation for this special soul that is my son. We pulled ourselves back to our feet and worked our way back out of the store.
We decided that our next step should most definitely be an ice cream shop, one that “sellsth spwrinklesth”. Eventually we found that one more thing. However, the thrill of that find couldn’t compare to the joy my sensitive, intuitive, thoughtful boy brought me that day.