Look for the Sign

At the end of last week, a friend shared a link to this story on Facebook. I'll confess that I don't click on everything people share via social media, but I did click on this. It quickly had me in tears, because I knew the message hit home for me; partly because it is an emotionally charged story, but mainly because it summed up my own week.

I encourage you to read it, take it heart and carry the message on as you venture out the door each morning. It is easy for us to get caught up in our own agenda, priorities and stresses and forget that we share this world with people that might be putting on a brave face just to walk out the door.

Our personal time crunch, things not going according to plan or someone cutting us off in traffic is our problem and ours alone. It's not something we should take out on others. On the flip side, we should always walk out the door with a side of grace in our pocket to hand out as we see fit. Not everyone will be nice, helpful or courteous, but we have to pull out that grace and offer it to them in case we can't see the sign around their neck.

After finishing my 12th round of treatment over 2 weeks ago, I knew it would take even longer to recover. As the weeks and treatments stacked on top of each other, my side effects compounded and I lost my spunk. I was having to put on that brave face to appear awesome, when all I really wanted to do was cry.

Let's all remember that on top of dealing with cancer and the sickness chemo brings, I still have to attempt motherhood. After a rough start to the week that left me sending up smoke signals to my family, crying uncontrollably in front of Merrick out of sheer physical weakness and having to say one too many times that mommy was too sick to do something, I finally ventured out of the house. There was no wig. There was no make-up. There was just me, trying to keeping my pre-teen short shorts from falling off and a rocking a beanie in 90 degree weather.

I had run several errands with Lachlan, who is currently doing more than his part to make up for the angelic 2 and 3 year old that Merrick was. I had made it out of Target with no fewer than 5 meltdowns and a lost phone. The icing on the cake included plenty of dragging, kicking, screaming, stares, screaming, stares, shrieking, dragging and a phone that was found hiding 30 minutes later in the crack of the restroom diaper changing station.

My next stop would be quick, but I thought I'd make it easier by grabbing one those obnoxious car carts. I was already reaching the end of my rope physically and emotionally, so it made my day when Lachlan spotted something in the wine department that he wanted and he flipped out. I can't say that I blame him. On the inside, I was having a meltdown over something in the wine department, too.

I pulled my beast of a cart into the line with him half hanging out of the car screaming. I watched to make sure I didn't bang his head too hard into the checkout, and tried to patiently tune him out. I knew there was no solution to his problem, so I didn't bother to placate him. And frankly, I didn't care. As I waited my turn, I heard the cashier ask the lady in front of me if she had a "valued customer" card for this store.

"I don't have time to look for it with THAT going on!" And she swiftly and blatantly pointed at Lachlan.

She never once looked at me, for certainly she would have noticed the bald girl who made no attempt to hide her lack of eyelashes that day. I looked like a sickly chemo patient. Had she even bothered to put Lachlan's screaming aside and look at me, perhaps she would have thought twice about letting the cashier know how much we were bothering her. I'd like to think that she would have seen my sign.

I'm sure my shock and disappointment was easy to read. As I pulled up to the cashier, I didn't have to say anything. She simply said, "Honey, don't you worry about what she just said. She clearly doesn't have kids, so she doesn't know what it's like." And with that, I let out a sigh of relief and let Lachlan continue screaming while I checked out.

It was one sentence and one attitude that completely altered my already hard day. I wish I had a sign to wear so that she and everyone else I encountered last week would know to just be nice to me. Or do something to make my life a tiny bit easier. I assumed that my appearance was my sign, but apparently not everyone could bother to read it.

Now read what's on the other side of this link. I promise it will make an impact.

As a side note, if you don't have children, let me assure you that we despise meltdowns in public just as much as you do. Please give us grace instead of dirty looks.


melissaolivero76 said...

A FB friend of mine that lost her 2 year old son within the last year posted this same story the other day. Really really made me made me want to be even more compassionate than I already am for people. You never know what one is going through. We all need to walk through this life with compassion for each other. xoxo

Carrie S. said...

Definitely a great reminder to have patience with all people. I hope the move goes smoothly!