When I Felt Judged at the Grocery Store After my Son’s Diagnosis

Mighty blog 2I only had a moment to run in for an emergency stop at the grocery store. I had so much stuff to try to fit in that day, (like trying to find big boy pajamas that buttoned down the front). I had just found out my sweet little boy had to have brain surgery.

During the first few days of learning he had Chiari Malformation, an incurable condition and needed surgery, I had such a hard time being in public. It was difficult seeing everyone go about their normal lives when it took everything I had to not fall apart with worry about what was to come. The hysterical emotions rocketing through me at that time made it exceedingly hard to fight the urge to scream, cry or both, so a trip to the grocery store was not an easy task that day.

My goal was to just get in, get out and I had almost succeeded when I turned the corner and passed her. She looked me up and down, judgement etched on her face, then scoffed and smirked as she passed. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe she didn’t like the way I looked or what I was wearing. Who in the world knows? I made a beeline toward the register swallowing back tears, refusing to allow them freedom until I got to the car.

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The whole incident only lasted five seconds, but in that brief moment, my fragile spirit was crushed. Although it’s been over a year since my son’s surgery, I have still not forgotten the look on her face that day in the grocery store. It woke me up and got me to thinking. We have hundreds of five second interactions every day and we really have absolutely no idea what others around us are going through. It made me realize how in just five seconds, we have the power to change things, to go a little farther, or to do a little extra for others, (even encourage a mom who is carrying a world of worry on her shoulders).

In just five seconds, I can smile and ask how you are doing, or give you a compliment. In five seconds, I can look you in the eye and acknowledge you instead of making you feel less or even invisible. In five seconds, I can give my children a few more kisses or a big bear hug rather than say I’m too busy. In five seconds, I can take my husband’s hand rather than push him away. In five seconds, I can give my loyal furry friend an extra scratch between his ears. In a matter of mere moments I can truly make a difference in those around me and in the lives of those I love so much.

In just five seconds, we have the power to encourage or discourage. What are you doing with yours?

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4 thoughts on “When I Felt Judged at the Grocery Store After my Son’s Diagnosis

  1. onestepmomentatatime says:

    I’m sorry you experienced that. Even on the best of days, no one wants needless negativity, let alone on roller coaster days, or worse.

    I try to make an effort to smile at strangers in the store, or in the halls at work, or hold the door for those few seconds longer. Sure, some people may think I’m the grinning weirdo, but I’d rather be that than the alternative. I know strangers have made my day just a little bit brighter by just a smile or a kind greeting, so I try to remember to do the same. I’m sure I’m not perfect. Like you, for various reasons have had the tornado store trips. I may forget then, but I try to be aware when I can be.

    Good for you for acknowledging, and making the positive difference in those people’s days around you!

    • blendermom3 says:

      I’m so grateful for you taking the time to read and share your heart. It is a simple concept but one I have to continually work at. It’s crazy, but I find it most difficult sometimes giving the extra to my family and loved ones rather than strangers. I have to be more conscientious to not give a flippant response to them because I know deep down they will love me anyway where as strangers are a lot less forgiving. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  2. melaniefellmanwrites says:

    So true! We really can do a world of hurt or healing in just five seconds. We can smile, give a compliment, pick up something another dropped, or look with scrutiny. The list continues. We cannot and do not know what those around us are going through. With just a look we could encourage another or cause them to cry.

    When in my teens I had brain surgery. This time of life was much more difficult on my mom than it was for me and so I have an idea of what that look meant to you.

    • blendermom3 says:

      Thanks so much Melanie for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I think we all can be more deliberate in how we respond to others in a positive way. Glad you are doing well post surgery. My son says the same thing..that he was much less worried than I was during the whole thing.

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