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A helping hand

"Mom, I'm hot. Not like SMOKIN' HOT, but like sweaty hot."

That smile came moments before the grocery store. We were all hot, and I wasn't particularly excited to make the stop, but it was necessary. Of course, all of the race car carts with steering wheels to entertain children, were gone. We grabbed a usual steel shopping cart, and I strapped my son in. He wasn't happy.

Making my way down the isles, I grabbed milk and eggs and 100% juice as quickly as I could. My daughter asked again why she couldn't have the juice boxes she wanted. "They have too much sugar," I responded placing some bread into the cart, continuing to move. She crossed her arms makinga longface to show me, and others, she's not happy.

In the store almost two hours, all I can really say is, God bless Georgia, the cashier. Rounding the corner into her lane the screaming intensified. "Almost done, Bud," I assured my son, hoping to get him to sit for a few minutes longer.

"Hello," she smiled.

"I'm real sorry. If you can just scan this and then toss it," I cringed, handing her a half eaten yogurt. The attempt to eat before we went shopping clearly didn't work.

"Sure, no problem," she smiled back.

Watching me struggle to empty the cart and keep my son from falling on his face as he arched against the seat back trying to sever his belt, she asked, "Would it be okay to have someone help you bag?"c

I wasn't at the type of store where they bag your groceries for you, but I sure was thankful for the offer, "Sure."

Picking up her phone she asked, "Can you come up and help bag?"

A tallish smiling twenty-something arrivedstanding at the end of the conveyor belt across from me. I assured him I didn't care if it was paper, or plastic, or, he just catapulted the purchased items into the cart. I just wanted to get the food I paid for and get out of there before a major meltdown happened. As quickly as we could, we bagged.

My daughter stood next to the cart patiently, and my son screamed, "Mama! Maaa-ma!"

My "Almost done, Bud," and, "Be a little patient, Honey," pleas were not working, so I unpeeled a neon green banana and gave it to him to gnaw on. Clearly, reasoning and explaining were getting me nowhere. He took a bite and made a face, but for a moment his hollars stopped.

"Thank you," I said to the man perfectly stacking cans of pears and peaches. "My husband will know right away I had help. I'm a horrible bagger." We laughed keeping our pace going.

I'm not sure if Georgia called him because my son had started screaming and flailing about, or, because the lady behind me had such a nasty look she was tossing in my direction. I wonder, if you raise your eyebrows and roll your eyes enough,will they eventually just keep that look on your face? I imagined she had no children, or didn't like them very much, and I wanted to explain to her that really, this is nothing compared to what he is capable of. Perhaps, she would have liked me to take her number for the moments that deserved an eye roll. That way, when he was real extreme, I could give her a call. I resisted the urge to bag slowly forcing her to spend more time with us and I smiled at her continuing to grab groceries.

Placing the last bag into the cart, I ran up the isle toget my receipt. "I hope these last you a while," the straight-faced cashier said. I was slightly offended. It would have been better if she delivered the statement with a grin, but it's possible her nerves were getting whiplash, too.


"Have a nice day," I said toGeorgia, and the woman with the looks, and, the man who came to help. Then, I thanked my daughter for being well-behaved and trying to help with her brother. I'm thinking I will go back to grocery shopping at night while my son is sleeping and my husband is home. But today, we have food for lunches and something special for dinner. I am so thankful to the strangers who could see I needed a little help, and without having to ask, they gave it.

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