I believe people come in and out of our lives for a reason, whether they step into your path and stay for a lifetime or a few years. Or maybe only for a college semester or a week at summer camp, or for just two days at a professional seminar -- or even for three minutes at a checkout counter. Sometimes you just need to pay attention.
Today I had one of those checkout counter experiences. I realized this morning that I'm in my 30th week of this pregnancy. Just 10 weeks left until Baby DeeDee makes his/her appearance. Which, at the pace my life has gone this past year, might as well be 10 minutes. And although I'm excited to meet this little gift, I've spent most of this past, oh, 25 weeks feeling incredibly anxious about the pregnancy and our new addition. Why would we upset the happy balance we have here in our family? Will Sweet Boy love and adore his younger sibling, or will he envy and dislike him/her? How will I be able to give my attention to two children, when one sucks up so much of my waking time? Will my marriage turn rocky right when we seem to have hit such a good groove? On and on and on my mind reels through these anxieties.
Anyway, this morning after some deep breaths to get through the 30-week-realization panic, Big Daddy and I went to Lowes to buy paint for the nursery. (Gorgeous dusky amethyst paint, by the way -- a color I can't wait to surround myself and my baby in.) The checkout woman, a middle-aged black woman with a friendly smile and orange-brown braids, commented on the paint color, how it was so soothing and soft. I mentioned it was for our new baby's nursery, and she got all sorts of excited about the idea of a new baby -- she seemed more thrilled than some of our family. She asked about my other children, and I told her about Sweet Boy, that he's 4-and-a-half and how we thought for a long time that he'd be an Only. And for some reason, this Lowes checkout lady's response put all my earlier oh-my-god-we're-having-a-baby-imminently anxiety to rest:
"Oh, how perfect! That's the perfect age difference! He's going to be a big brother who knows how to show love. And you let him have his babyhood, gave him time to be the one and only -- but now you can give this baby undivided attention, too, when big brother goes to school. Perfect timing, mama. You all are gonna be just fine, just beautiful."
So there I was, standing in the checkout line at Lowes, smiling and nodding and feeling a bit choked up at this stranger's effusive show of happiness and support for me and my family. Maybe she wasn't placed in my path by God or the universe or any higher power; perhaps I was simply looking for reassurance from any source I could find. Regardless of how or why, this little light at Lowes was spot-on today.