A few weeks ago I went out on an assignment and, as I am prone to doing, decided to pop into the local Asda on the way home.
I highly doubt I needed anything but ended up with some pens and colourful document wallets before wandering up the toy aisle out of habit.
As I was staring at lego debating why the hell it was so expensive (and no wonder they could afford to build that huge store from the lego Christmas documentary) a member of staff came sprinting past me.
More lego, more lego, and the same member of staff came sprinting back past. I finally looked up as she came past a third time carrying a chair.
Then I noticed the commotion at the end of the aisle.
One lady was kneeling on the floor, being held up by what I later realised was her daughter and her friend.
As mothers I think we always want to help but, in my life especially, I don’t think I’ve yet reached the age where I can confidently wade in without feeling like I’m intruding. Then I always feel guilty and I never stop thinking about it.
I couldn’t just leave the aisle. It didn’t feel right. So I walked to the end. They were attempting to get the lady into the chair (it transpired that her knee had given way) but her friend couldn’t hold lift her up and there were only so many pairs of hands.
I took hold on the spindly plastic chair from the cafe and held it while all three of them (daughter, friend, staff member) lifted her into it without it moving all over the place. I’m glad I got involved for once, even if I only did the tiniest thing. I did not walk on by, and I did not leave until a first aider turned up and I was just getting in the way.
However, that is not what this story is about. That’s not what made me cry when I got to the self service.
Now, I am no stranger to crying in an Asda supermarket.
The lady’s daughter, who was attempting to lift under her right arm, said something motivating whilst her mother was protesting that she felt like passing out (I think due to the panic).
“He’s here mum, be brave”
That was when I noticed the toddler in the trolley next to them. The little boy must have been about three and was watching as if he didn’t know what to make of the whole thing.
And that is what hit me in the chest.
Because, as mothers, that’s what we do. We look at these tiny people and we draw unimaginable strength from their presence and the need to protect them.
We are so fierce in protecting them against ever feeling scared. We smile through tears. The brave face we can produce is unmatched strength anywhere else.
I even took Jay to my first smear test because I knew if he was there (facing the other way with a lolly pop, obviously) I wouldn’t even think about letting him down.
We will never let them down. There is nothing like a small child watching that makes you so determined to do superhuman things and show them that their mums, nans, aunties, whoever, are the strongest thing in the world.
Not that I think ever showing weakness, pain or showing that we’re human is wrong or ever letting them down but think about it… even just sitting in your chair or standing at the bus stop reading this, thinking about someone whispering that to you in regards to your own little person automatically puts a kick into your belly. A rush of adrenaline to hold your head up and do what needs to be done.
Mothers wouldn’t survive without it. And that’s why we’re awesome – even when we’re crying to Asda.
I still have no idea what happened to that lady but my thoughts go out to her.