After two hours of roaming around Wal-Mart not knowing where everything is and not really caring anymore, we decided to just give up on the rest of the list and go home.
Until I remembered that I was out of oatmeal. I’ve been trying to eat a package of oatmeal with a chopped up apple and some honey each weekend morning while sitting quietly in my living room, sometimes catching up on the stuff that I had DVRed during the week.
We searched for a few minutes and located the cereal aisle. There are more kinds of oatmeal than I ever imagined and I stood there reading over all of the boxes when a lady with three small children came around the corner. She didn’t speak English and the little girl with her was her translator. They had found a store employee who also spoke Spanish and he was directing her to the oatmeal section. I hated to be eavesdropping on the conversation, but now I am so glad that I did.
Evidently the little girl had spent the night with a friend and during that visit they had instant oatmeal. She clutched an empty oatmeal packet in her hands like it was a hundred dollar bill, she didn’t even want to hand it over to the store employee who was helping them. Her little eyes lit up when she saw the oatmeal boxes. The lady and the employee chattered back and forth and he showed her that when you open the boxes there are little packets of oatmeal inside.
Things have been hitting me really hard lately. You know that. I cry at the drop of a hat. We are having a tough time with so many things, but seeing that lady get so excited at the idea of instant oatmeal sent me over the edge. I started to imagine all of the hardships she might have endured and the simple life that she must lead, a life where finding out that oatmeal comes in so many varieties and that it can be cooked in the microwave made her smile.
It made me grateful for all of the things that I do have, but oh so angry at a world that has taught my son that he deserves things that he hasn’t worked for and when people don’t just hand him the things that he wants, then he will steal them.
Where have we failed? Not just me and D, but all of us. Have we given our kids so much that they want for nothing? What would they say if all we handed them today was a little packet of oatmeal? I don’t think they would smile.
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