Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Checkout-line encounter 4: taking the risk


This is the fourth in my series of "checkout-line encounters" posts: see the others HERE, HERE, and HERE.  

I didn't really expect this to become a series, but when I'm just going about the mundane task of grocery shopping, I always seem to observe people and incidents that make me stop and think.

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I was in the express checkout line at Loblaws the other day when I heard "Oh, my goodness!" "Will you look at that!" I looked over to the next line, and a young man was standing there holding a tiny bundle in his arms. This was the reason for the fussing and cooing by his cashier and pretty much every other woman in sight.

I don't even know if the baby was a boy or a girl; I do know it was "one month and one week" old because the young dad kept giving that very specific response to those who asked.

What struck me most was the young man's face. He was absolutely glowing with pride and happiness. He was in an express lane too, so maybe there were just one or two essentials that he had to go out and pick up. But I think even if he hadn't had to go to a store, he probably would have wanted to be somewhere where other people could see him and his baby, where they could ask questions and fuss and coo and he could bask in the attention.

 The sixty-something man in line behind me said dryly, "Glad it's him and not me."

I laughed and said, "Yeah, I'm not sure I'd want to go back to that stage now. But it's awfully sweet."

"He'd better enjoy it now," the man said, "They don't all turn out good." 

He was right: there are no guarantees. And maybe he was speaking from painful personal experience. 

But I don't think it would have worked to tell the young dad, "Don't get too attached. This kid might grow up to break your heart." It was too late for that. I don't know what kind of challenges he might be facing as a father; he was awfully young. But at that moment he was taking the risk of loving. It was written all over his face.

photo from pixabay.com

10 comments:

  1. Interesting :) I hardly ever see anything so interesting when I'm out shopping for groceries.

    The older man's reaction makes me a little sad. It does sound like he has had some painful experiences. Then again, he's right in that it's good to enjoy each stage of parenthood as you live it, as much as you can.
    I wouldn't be particularly keen to go back to the new baby stage either, myself, but looking back from the distance of ten years it seems to have gone past incredibly quickly. And I didn't know to make the most of it - didn't know that the first one would also be the last one. Anyways, it makes my heart glad to see new parents enjoy their babies (even though I also know the realities and don't expect anyone to be just happy-happy-happy all the time :) ).

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    1. All that you've said is so true, Tuija, especially the last part. "Enjoy it, it goes so quickly" can be hard to hear when we're really struggling -- whatever stage our kids are at. Thanks for reading and commenting today.

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  2. Who knows what kind of experience the man behind you had had? But how sweet that the young father was so proud of his baby. Brings back memories. You're right. There are no guarantees, but I think I'd rather "over-love" a kid, on the chance that it might just help him to turn out right in the end. I'm waiting to see what will happen my "boy" in college.

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    1. Yes, Betsy, I think this young fellow was getting off to the right start. He was just walking on air -- even after "one month and one week" the thrill hadn't worn off! :-)

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  3. "Taking the risk of loving" is a great way to describe doing the job of parenthood, Jeannie.

    As for women oohing and awing over a baby, My wife told me that the first time she gave me a second look was when she saw me holding a friend's baby at church. It's kind of like borrowing a friend's puppy.

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    1. That's funny, Tim! Babies and puppies are the true "chick magnets"!

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  4. Jeannie, this is a beautiful reflection. It got me thinking about something else that a friend told me many years ago, that has stayed with me for many years. And then I realized - it was YOU! It was back when one of my daughters was at last expecting a longed-for baby after a long and difficult medical process. She was afraid to be too happy because what if she lost the baby. And you said something along the lines of this: she should let herself be joyful, because guarding our hearts against joy does not ease any future grief, all it does is rob us of present joy. Something like that. Do you remember what you said? I'd love to hear your words again - such wisdom, and as I say, it has stayed with me over many years now. Thanks for these words today, about the risks of loving. So true.

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    1. Hi Franceen - I'm not sure if what you remember me saying was original with me; it might have been something I quoted from somewhere. But it's neat that you remembered it -- it still rings true, doesn't it? Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Simple moments make life truly worth living and you, Jeannie, are an expert at spotting them.
    Thanks for sharing. And my prayers are for that young dad, who perhaps has courage and naivety in perfect balance!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah - I appreciate your words. And I agree about the young dad. He may have challenges ahead, but at that moment he was basking in the joy.

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