I had taken a chance and decided to shop at Belk. It’s not that I heard bad things about that store, but rather that I had heard nothing in regards to it. I didn’t even know what they sold. They could have been a store dedicated solely to carpet cleaners or selling remote control cars.
In fact, I had to google it in the parking lot to make sure it wasn’t a nuclear test facility.
As I was googling it, I saw middle aged women coming out of the entrance. Good enough for me.
I whipped Daphs out of the car and we scurried into the store.
I noticed it was like a Kohls crossed with a J.C. Penney. This particular store was very cramped and a little unorganized.
I was the youngest person there. Well, technically Daphne was, but she isn’t here to speak up about it.
I went searching for pants.
I dread pants shopping.
I not only dread it, but I loathe it.
I despise it.
I would rather walk around in public with broccoli stuck in my teeth.
I would rather step on a lego.
I would rather Daphne have a poop explosion all over and not have a change of clothes.
Either way, it was necessary. I needed pants.
I found some uber cute pastel colored ones: Pink and Mint.
With Daphne in the carseat in the miniature cart, I weaved my way through the narrow aisles of Belk and headed towards the dressing room.
I was through the door threshold when I sensed someone close behind me.
I sensed someone tall.
I sensed someone of the masculine sex.
I turned to see an old man, perhaps 75, gawking and talking to me (apparently) and oogling at Daphs.
I stopped, midway through the door to the dressing room, to listen to him chipperly talk to Daphne and tell her how beautiful she is. I’m too nice.
He went on and on about how ‘they grow up so quick’ and how beautiful she is. He kept talking to her and trying to make her laugh.
Old people love to make little babies laugh.
Now, this old dude was uncomfortably close to me. At 5 feet 3 inches tall, this man was looming over me. He leaned over my shoulder and was pointing down at Daphs. All this in the narrow aisle of Belk, halway through the door to the dressing room.
I entertained him and made my exit as soon as I could.
I have a thing about personal space with strangers. I don’t mind being close to strangers in a public place as long as they aren’t paying attention to me (a concert, walking through a crowded mall). The problem comes in when someone I do not know comes very close to me and pays attention to me (this dude in a doorway).
I have an even bigger problem, I’ve come to find out, with strangers coming close to my daughter. I appreciate their good intentions of admiring youth and attempting to catch a smile. Still, it’s awkward to have a person reach out towards my baby. I don’t want to be a jerk and be like “Whoa…my baby. No touchy.” I’m too nice, I guess.
A similar situation happened to me just a few days prior to the old dude encounter in Belk.
An older gentleman (70’s) came hobbling up my stairs to my front porch. I saw him through my glass door and met him at the door.
“Hi, what can I do for ya?” I chimed.
“Oh…what a beauty! What a cute baby,” he exclaimed as he reached out to touch Daphne’s feet.
I just stood there confused.
I repeated, “What can I do for ya?”
He then averted his attention from the gorgeous darling in my arms and told me his business (“Is that your rooster that keeps coming in my yard?”)
For whatever reason, be it too many scary movies or a general fear that something bad is always about to happen, I distrust people approaching me and coming into my personal space.
I have a fear of them doing me harm and especially doing harm to my daughter.
Yea…I even feared both of those old dudes like they’d suddenly get a burst of 20-something energy and scoop Daphs out of my hands and make a run for the exit. In reality, neither would make it a foot away from me without tripping and most likely breaking a hip if in fact they *could* pry Daphs from my vice-like arms.
Even though I usually get quite uncomfortable with people approaching my baby, I get through it with a little patience and grace.
In doing so I am able to glean wisdom from the older generation.
Once I got past the fact that a giant had tracked me down through the store and hovered over my shoulder in the aisle at Belk and that an old guy who came a-knockin’ on my door tickled Daphne’s feet, I was able to see that they both had some amazing things to say.
In fact, those who stops me to admire Daphne usually have wonderful advice: Enjoy this time, they grow up quickly, I wish I had more time with them, don’t let them out of your sight. I usually listen with an open heart and take what they say seriously.
Sometimes, those people who stop me to admire Daphs just want someone to talk to. The older man who came to my door, for example, has quite a story. He raises chickens as well, names them, and lets them perch on his shoulder. He has met a civil war vet. He works on Vespas and rat rods. He loves Volkswagen. He takes water pills every morning and has to pee around 11. He killed a possum with a pick axe a few days ago. His favorite chicken was killed and he doesn’t know what killed it. Whatever it was made a large pile of feathers and spit out the legs.
It would have been easy for me to close of this man and dismiss him after he had asked his initial question (“Is that your rooster that comes and hangs out in my coop?”) but rather, I asked him to come take a look at my coop and give me hints. I showed interest. I asked questions. He had great advice and was a funny character.
My mom made a good point after telling her about this encounter with the chicken-dude.
“We all have voices that long to be heard.”
Isn’t that the truth?
We all want to be heard. We want our story to be remembered. We want to know that someone…anyone…is listening and that they care.
I wanted to take a minute to say thank you for listening to my voice.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my life, my struggles, my joys, and my heart.
Thank you for commenting.
Thank you for being a part of my world and letting me a part of yours.
I had originally started this blog with the intent of it being just a documentary of my pregnancy. I had hoped that by keeping track of everything, someone out there might glean a little bit of wisdom, comfort, or knowledge in learning about my experience. My blog will continue to transform as I have been transformed. Thank you for being a part of the journey with me!
Thank you for listening to my voice.