I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to bring my then 3 year old daughter and 6 month old son to go shopping at the mall at 5 pm. This revelation came to me many times as I sat on the floor of the omen’s department at Sears. I sat quietly and watched Jenna throw a massive temper tantrum while the baby slept in his stroller. I just wanted to get in the car and go home, but I was paralyzed because there was no way I could carry her kicking and screaming, push the stroller outside and carry several large shopping bags. I was determined to hold my ground. There was no freaking way Jenna was going on the carousel. Not after the meltdown she had at the shoe store 10 minutes beforehand . I told her if she behaved herself, we would go on the carousel She didn’t keep her end of the deal –refusing to try on sneakers she desperately needed and tried to make a break for the merry-go-round by running out of the store unattended. She could scream all day if she wanted to. I was not giving in. But then, I realized I was sstuck-stuck at Sears, 50 feet from my car. I couldn’t push the stroller, carry her kicking and screaming in my arms along with all of the shopping bags. So, I just sat on the floor and remained perfectly still while she screamed and cried and carried on. People at the check out nearby couldn’t help but look over at all of the commotion. As the older moms walked by us out the door – to what I considered the Promised Land, they nodded, smiled knowingly and remarked that I was doing the right thing. “I remember those days,” one said to me. “Let her cry it out,” another advised. She only screamed louder as members of the Mom Solidarity Squad walked by us in united support. But no one offered to actually help me. And just when I thought I would have to spend the night at the department store–an angel appeared before me. An angel with a plan. “Come on. Let’s go.” she said. “I’ll push the stroller, my son will take your bags and you carry your daughter. We will get you to your car.” I blinked back tears of joy. I was getting out of Sears! For a brief moment, I considered the plan wondering if I was a terrible mother to let a complete stranger push my son in his stroller to our car, but I saw no other option and I wanted to go home. Ten years later, I still remember that woman and her act of kindness. I can’t walk into Sears without thinking about her and wondering if I remembered to thank her for helping me in my time of need. If it wasn’t for her, I might still be there.

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