Keeping Him to Myself

Rewind about 3 weeks ago….

I had a unique experience with a stranger at the store that I haven’t been able to shake. While travelling from aisle to aisle, she and I continually crossed paths. Each time, acknowledging one another. I only had little guy with me at the time. She would occasionally talk to him, and of course he would oblige with a head tilt and batting of his long eyelashes. She knew he wasn’t quiet, because she heard him singing and jabbering ridiculously loudly throughout the store. She thought his little “introvert” game was cute and would comment on it.

She looked at him as if he reminded her of someone. I assumed it was her own children or maybe grandchildren.

When I finished my shopping, the rest of customers did as well (or so it appeared). I hunted for what I thought would be the most efficient line as the 1 year-old was obviously done with shopping. I chose wrong! Something needed a price check and something else needed to be changed out. In the midst of the grocery store madness, though, an unexpected moment happened.

She parked behind us in line. She proceeded to ask if he was my only. I told her that he was not, but that he was the baby. When she asked how many children I have, I replied “3.”

I do have 3 children but for the sake of grocery store conversation I usually say 2 and move on.

Most people don’t probe too much more, but the line was moving pretty slowly. The “change the subject” question was then asked.

     “How old are they?”

As I filled this complete stranger in on my children (not every detail), I could tell that my announcing that my second child died wasn’t going to end our conversation. Hallelujah, it was my turn! The talk didn’t end though. As I put my groceries on the belt while simultaneously telling my youngest to quit trying to grab things, she told me that her son died as well. I expressed my condolences and finished checking out.

Wouldn’t you know it, we were parked right next to each other and because everything takes twice as long when even one kid is with me, I was still unloading my cart when she got out there. She thanked me for being so candid about my child.

“I needed to hear that other moms count their babies that didn’t experience this world.”

She showed me a necklace that her other children had bought her years ago. They wanted to put a picture in it of all of them but knew that she would have preferred to pick the picture. When she opened the locket, it was empty. She told me that she couldn’t fathom wearing a picture that didn’t have all of children in it.

We exchanged first names and I let her know that she would be in my prayers.

To think that she could have been those strangers that I don’t mention Wyatt to really makes me pause. There are bad days where the last thing I want to do is bring up my child that died to a random person who is just making small talk; however, I think Wyatt knows what he’s doing up there. I think he knows when I need to talk about him and when I get to keep him to myself. With Love- Heather

 (this is not her locket)

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