I was walking downtown doing a little Christmas shopping, and there were actual snowflakes dancing in the air. A pop-up flea market was setting up, and they had Christmas music playing in the square, wreaths hanging on wooden racks, handmade mittens, and there seemed to be an abundance of people walking their puppies! I had a few bags in my hand, which always makes me think of a movie where a happy person goes shopping. I stopped for a vegan peppermint mocha on my way to my car, and drove to the bookstore to continue my shopping.
I wish I could tell you that I went to the quaint independent bookstore around the corner, but we don’t have that here. (Locals! Don’t throw rocks at me yet! There’s a wonderful used bookstore in town, but it has never had the selection I am looking for for kids’ books…) So instead, I browsed Barnes and Noble, and a bookstore is a bookstore, so I always love that. Then I took a few minutes to check out my selections on amazon… seeing where amazon could save me 20% or more. I put half of my books back on the shelves, and into my amazon cart.
That’s probably where my holiday cheer started to wane a bit. . . scrunched over on the floor of Barnes and Noble, scanning my books on my phone to do a price check. And then, of course, I had to get in line.
“In a loooooonnnnnngggggg line at store” I texted Mr. Thought. Man, my pile of books was getting heavy.
The woman in front of me turned around and said, “I found two cards that I love! Right here in this line.”
I smiled at her, “That’s lucky!” Then I joked, “And here I am just feeling annoyed to be wasting time in this slow line!”
“Oh, Honey,” she started, “I didn’t even think I was going to make it to the holidays! I’ve been in and out of hospitals all year. When you don’t know if you are going to wake up the next day, you learn to live like each day is your last.”
I listened as my line buddy told me about her late husband’s motto of living each moment like it’s your last. She told me that her heart problems have been horrible, but that the hardest thing has been to change her personality.
“You can’t be type A all of the time! I used to want things to be perfect. Well, you know what? Not everything is going to be all neat and tidy.”
She told me to relax and enjoy.
At first I was laughing a little in my head. It’s a great lesson, but I’m not what you would call a classic Type A.
“I’m trying,” I explained. “Three kids at home right now probably driving my husband crazy while I’m Christmas Shopping!”
“How lucky that you have a husband at home with the kids. It’s so great how we are really moving towards a true partnership with parenting. We didn’t have that when I had my kids.”
“For sure,” I started. “Of course, I’m still usually the one who cleans the bathroom!”
“It probably starts to bother you way before it would bother him!” She said knowingly.
And then it was her turn to buy her books.
“Merry Christmas!” She called as she walked away.
“Merry Christmas!” I smiled.
Some people don’t like advice from strangers. They get huffy if a grandmotherly woman stops to tell them how much she misses “those days.” Not me! Bring on the stories and inspiration. I mean, if I’m in line at a bookstore and I can collect slices of life from people around me? That’s something to truly celebrate!