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What Connects Us
Being a woman in my mid-forties with older kids, I don’t always feel that I fit in with certain groups of women.
I have friends with young kids and friends who are grandmothers.
So while I do have lots of friends who are my age, we aren’t always at the same station in life.
And when I’m out in public, I’m finding more and more that I feel a bit lost in the crowd.
I smile nicely at sweet, grandmotherly ladies in the store who are shopping alone. Maybe I make small talk with them in the grocery store checkout line about the weather or the crowds.
Women my own age either seem too busy to make small talk or have no interest. There isn’t usually much eye contact, and I’m not always sure what to say to start a conversation with them since it’s not obvious what we have in common.
But the moms with little ones? Toddlers? Newborns?
I love talking to them.
They take me back in time when they share a few moments with me.
So now I’ve become that odd lady at the grocery store or Target that parents warn their kids about.
Last week I saw a young mother shopping with her little boy in the toy department at Target. The little boy was probably about 4 years-old, chatting up a storm about the new Legos.
I was captivated by his little voice, his excitement about the Legos, and how warm and loving the conversation between he and his mother was.
He transported me back to when my son was that age. How many trips to Target had I made with him, chatting away about this and that, trying to finish my errands? My son was equally crazy about Legos, memorizing the sets in each category as this little guy seemed to.
I couldn’t help but stare. And smile.
But after happening to run into the two of them in several different aisles (and yes, I was really shopping for toys) I finally had to talk to the mom.
So she wouldn’t think I was trying to steal her kid.
Or on drugs.
I caught her eye, told her how cute her little boy was, and that he reminded me of mine.
Who wasn’t so little anymore.
She brightened to talk about him for a moment with someone who would listen. We laughed about the Lego addiction, and she seemed relieved when I told her that they kept my son busy for hours on end.
And that woman in the grocery store yesterday? She looked so frazzled with her three little ones in tow. Grocery shopping on the best of days isn’t fun with kids.
I couldn’t help but comment about her daughter’s sweatshirt, which happened to be from the college I graduated from. Which led to a discussion about how wonderful that area is, and how she hopes to move back there one day.
Her daughter reminded me of mine; back when she was willing to wear her hair in ponytails and wasn’t concerned that her pinks didn’t quite match.
As we talked, only for the amount of time it took the checker to move through a few customers, she relaxed a bit. We made a connection.
I think this is part of what I am loving about blogging.
I’ve met so many talented and wonderful ladies during this past year. Their stories about their lives and their kids connect me to them.
Even when the mirror reminds me that I’m already past that station.
So the next time an older, somewhat gray-at-the-roots lady who’s shopping alone smiles at you and asks about your kid?
Be nice. Humor her a bit. You just might make her day.