After a hospital stay and, more recently, a stomach flu, we just had to get out of the house. “Can we get French fries?” my oldest asked as we made our way to the mall. “Of course!” I replied. He needed the calories after missing out on eating for a few days last week. It was work to get two little ones to the mall. The jackets, the boots, the carseats, there was so much to do just to get out, but we had to get out today lest we go nuts at home. It had been several days since anyone had been sick so I felt okay putting us out in public. I was wrong. We went to a table with our little tray of French fries and a drink and sat down in the wicker chairs. Normally we sit over by the windows so that we can look out on the traffic but I was too tired to go over there today. I’ve hated wicker ever since my babysitting days of cleaning up projectile vomit off a wicker table. I think wicker needs to be used for outdoor furniture only, and that there needs to be a warning label on it, “UNCLEANABLE! DO NOT USE INDOORS!” but here we were, sitting in wicker chairs in the mall food court.
After laying our coats on the spare chair at the table, we started eating. Two or three French fries later, my youngest, a gorgeous two year old with bright red hair and chubby little cheeks, tells me he’s not feeling well. I pick him up to take him to the bathroom and as we walk he throws up all over me, thankfully missing the chair. I guess it was not a good idea to go out. I walk him, quickly, to the washroom, which of course is over by the windows and as far as possible from the wicker chairs. At that moment, I felt the judging eyes of the world upon us. “Why would she go OUT?” “Gross” “Who brings their sick kid to the mall?” As I passed by a woman who was several years older than me, she looked at me with so much kindness, that without saying anything I felt that she knew that we didn’t do this on purpose and that life sucked for us right then. She looked at me with empathy and concern and at that moment, none of the other people mattered. Especially not the guy who, when I told him to call someone to clean up the area, passed me a single napkin! Since that day, I have always tried to look at other Mums with kindness and empathy, no matter what the situation. You just never know what challenges they might be facing.
Written in response to today’s Daily Prompt.