|Orson, age 3, and me pregnant with baby Ruby in 2015|
It started as a very pleasant shopping trip. I had met my husband at Costco with our 3 year old son to do a little shopping and have lunch. Much to my delight a sweet friend was also there eating lunch with her three and one year old sons waiting for their tires! My husband went back to work while I stuck around to finish lunch with my friend. My cart was of course nestled in close to our table in the well known Costco food court.
As I heaved myself up out of the welded in bench to table set up, very ungracefully at 6 months pregnant I was stopped in my tracks by another shopper. All I had to do was lay my hands on the push bar of my giant Costco shopping cart for this lady to lay into me with all kinds of opinions and advice.
She began to tell me that she was a registered nurse and knew lots of really smart things about optimal nutrition for children and that the food in my cart was unfit for consumption. She said that I was hurting my children by purchasing such food. She told me that I had made some bad decisions and should really think twice about the kinds of things I let my kids eat.
She wasn’t quiet about it. She wasn’t nice about it. She had laid in wait at her own nearby table (and hey if she was there eating anything from the Costco food court herself lets be honest is she really one to lay judgment on my shopping cart?) just waiting to see which mother at the table eating pizza with three boys was going to stand up and claim that cart. She was ready for either one of us to fess up to buying…….a jumbo sized container of cheese puffs.
Yep that’s what she was shaming me for. Cheese puffs. That’s what she decided to verbally attack an ungraceful pregnant woman for.
How did I react? Well I was definitely shocked. I had no idea that my purchase would ever cause such alarm and anger in another person. My reaction was an attempt at explaining myself to this impassioned registered nurse but I found myself mumbling and speechless. I ended up walking the rest of the way to the car getting angrier and angrier with each step. Orson my three year old asked, “Mom why was she so mad about the cheese puffs you bought me?”
What this impassioned registered nurse didn’t know was that my three year old son was losing weight and uninterested in eating much of anything. What she didn’t know was that on top of losing weight at the age of three, which of course isn’t typically ever a positive thing that he also has Cystic Fibrosis which makes his pancreas non-functioning and his digestive system in general trashed. What she didn’t know was that Orson was weeks away from getting a g-tube placed and since birth was never an exceptionally eager eater so when we pass the JUMBO sized barrel of cheese puffs in the Costco and he expresses and interest in eating those I gladly put them in the cart.
So as I’ve taken many deep breaths over these past two years since this happened and thought about this woman who knew nothing about me but wanted to shame me for my decision I immediately think of the friend I was sitting with at lunch that day.
She came to my house not long after my attempted shaming. Maybe I should call it the Costco cheese puff shame fest….OK so my friend came to my house not long after the Costco cheese puff shame fest and brought to my door a surprise. What could it be?
Well of course my sweet friend brought me a GIGANTIC barrel of cheese puffs from Costco. She then handed me a wonderfully encouraging note she had written about my family. She said that she was shocked at the fellow shopper’s behavior and wanted me to know that I’m doing good things and not to think about the angry impassioned registered nurse a second longer.
This is another example from my life when Heavenly Father sees the bump in the road coming and gets all the right people there at the right time to smooth things over. Was it a coincidence that I had my shaming witnessed by a friend? No way! Have we ever run into each other at Costco again? No way! She was there that day to witness my bump and be my smoother. I’m grateful to know that I’m not alone in my struggles ever and that God loves me and watches over me and my family.
PS – In my mind since the Costco cheese puff shaming of 2015 I have mentally rehearsed several kind return responses to the registered nurses attack. Also in my mind she has asked for my forgiveness of her harsh and out of line verbal attack and I have given it. All is well with this stranger, in my mind of course.