As you well know, I spend a lot of time in grocery stores. I’m sure I’m there five times per week. So, it’s not surprising that I would have unusual experiences in a grocery store. Friday night was no exception.
I was at one of those stores with carpet in the aisles (you know where I’m talking about) when I heard a crash. As I rounded the corner to get some milk, there he was on the floor mumbling – a guy who looked to be in his 50’s and about 250 lbs. Next to him was a woman, in her late 70’s, helping him up. I wasn’t sure what happened so I quickly moved toward them to give her a hand (yes, big, strong Jessica to the rescue!).
I didn’t have to get too close before I smelled the alcohol and body odor … it was so strong I felt sick. I reached down to help him up, but he shot back that he was fine and could do it himself. The woman (turns out to be his mother) looked at me with sadness in her eyes and I stepped back. I nodded to her and kept going.
As I got into the chip aisle, there he was, pulling chips bags onto the floor as he walked through the aisle. She kept picking up after him, like he was a little kid grabbing at everything he wanted. It was sad.
When I got to the check out, they were in front of me. Well, she was … he was sitting on a bench by the wall. She thanked me for helping. Told me he just lost his job and his wife due to drinking. She didn’t know what to do with him. I said that I thought parenting is the toughest job of all. But that the even harder job is taking care of ourselves even when it means putting on our oxygen mask on first. She hugged me, asked if I had kids and I pointed to my gray hair as proof. We laughed as she took off her hat and showed me her full head of gray. I wished her good luck and that was that.
As a parent, I guess you never entirely lose the urge to make life easier for your child, even when they’re an adult. And certainly you want to solve their problems when they’re in trouble. I can see that already.
This is the hardest and best job of my life. And, sometimes we just can’t control the things we wish we could control. We do our best raising them and then we have to let go.
Life is so beautifully (and sometimes painfully) complicated.
Have an amazing day!