I didn’t even see her coming toward us, but as soon as she said it, I knew she was talking to me.
It was 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday, and I’d just walked into Target with all three boys in tow. It had been a long day, but we needed bananas in the worst way, and I wasn’t about to go another morning without them.
I heard her words and looked toward where her voice was coming from. She was smiling at me with her eyes.
“You’re so lucky.”
I felt warm all over. She’s so right. I am lucky. For a moment, my heart tickled with a rediscovered delight — because this time while out in public with young kids, I finally felt understood.
It was so much better than what I normally hear — things like, “Wow, you have your hands full!” or “Do you know what causes that?” That last one usually comes from an old man and is typically followed by a stupid snicker. Most often, I smile stupidly (but inside I’m dropping F-bombs).
Normally when strangers comment, I feel on the defense. You know how it is when you just feel like you need to throw your hands up quizzically, as if to say, “I don’t know how this happened” with an awkward smile on your face.
No, this wasn’t that.
This lady totally got it. You’re so lucky.
She didn’t pause as she said it; she kept walking. She wasn’t there to mock me or even make a moment of it. She simply planted the words and kept going.
And as she walked by, we locked eyes for a second. And then, I said it: “Thank you.”
Those two words rose up from the bottom of my tired, self-pitying, “I haven’t showered in three days” soul. “Thank you” just welled up and overflowed from of me.
And I meant it in every single way.
It wasn’t a shrug of the shoulders and “Thank you, but I’m really uncomfortable and thinking you’re making fun of my situation.”
It wasn’t a “Thanks so much, but really, please shut up before I punch you.”
It wasn’t a “Thank you, but please stop pitying me and let me be on my way.”
It was a “Thank you. I’m proud.”
“Thank you. You’re right.”
“Thank you. I am lucky.”
She wasn’t pitying me. In fact, she might have been wishing she could be me — with three dependent, needy young men who need their mommy every single moment of every single day.
You’re so lucky. The words echoed in my head long after she’d passed the Dollar Spot and walked out of my sight.
Thank you. Purely, absolutely, completely, from the bottom of my weary heart.
Thank you for reminding me that I am lucky. Thank you for reminding me that I need to live in gratitude for every single day that I have with these kids. Yes, there are a lot of them, but I am happy about that in every single way imaginable.
So, thank you, woman I don’t know at Target.
You really did say the exact words I wanted and needed to hear.
And for that, I thank you.