She was having a hard time.
"Here, let me help you," I said and reached in front of her filled buggy and held open the door. I looked down into the eyes of a toddler gripping the young woman's hand. She struggled to push her cart with one hand and hold onto him with the other. She was pregnant. Very pregnant.
"Why don't you let me get that for you? I don't have anything but this one, little bag," I offered. "Really, I'd love to help," I prodded and she smiled and gave in. I could tell she was tired. It was in her eyes.
I took her buggy and pushed as she walked beside me, still holding on to the little boy. As we crossed the parking lot I asked her when she was due.
"Last week," she sighed and let out a tired little laugh. The little boy leaned forward and patted his mother's stomach. "That's not fat, that's a baby!" he announced and both the young woman and I stopped in our tracks and laughed. "That's right, sweetie," she told him, then turned to me and said. "I can't even see my feet."
"I remember that feeling," I told her and I meant it. It's been a while, nearly 18 years, but I can still remember.
9 total votes.
I recall vividly the day my husband came home from work and I was beached on the sofa crying. I was nine months pregnant with our first child. Nine months and almost two weeks, to be exact.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked as he gazed down upon his whale of a wife, wondering, I am sure, why I was once again wearing that danged black dress with the huge tropical flowers all over it. I looked like Hawaii had thrown up on me. Fact is, the last three weeks I was pregnant I had exactly three articles of clothing that fit — a pair of stretchy black pants, a white button up shirt with an aqua bow on it, and that dress.
"What's wrong with me?" I wailed, my piteousness punctuated by the crumbs of food scattered down the front of my maternity dress. "Can't you see? I am fat, I am tired and I can't ... I can't ... I can't see my feet!" Sob. Snort. Sniffle. Sob.
An hour earlier I had been sent home from work. Well past my due date, they had decided I should go ahead and begin my maternity leave to give me time to rest. I suspect, though, that my co-workers were really only worried for their own safety, fearing that the incredibly huge pregnant woman who was always hungry might try to eat them. Either that or they were just tired of seeing me in that dress.
So, home I went and turned on the television. A game show here. A soap opera there. A talk show. I was entertained.
Until my psychotic pregnant hormones took over and I realized halfway through a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls that all the girls on nearly every show were skinny little things with cute little outfits — not a circus tent dress anywhere. That's when I looked down and saw that my feet had disappeared. That's all it took. I lost it.
My husband tried his best to console me.
"It's okay," he said. "You're supposed to be fat."
If only I had known where my feet were, I would have jumped off the couch and killed him. Luckily, I went into labor two days later and my feet and I were reunited.
"Thank you for helping me," the young woman said after I helped her get her things into her car.
"Good luck," I said and waved at the little boy safely buckled in his seat. And they were gone.
Somewhere today there's a family that is holding a new baby, a big brother who is awfully proud, and a mama who is probably more tired than the day I saw her in that parking lot.
A good tired ... and at least she found her feet.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.