Most days, I consider myself a pretty good person. One who, given a choice, will do the right thing. But there was a day, a few years ago, where I failed miserably at the good person thing and I would like to formally apologize to the woman I wronged.
Let me explain…
My youngest daughter and I were strolling through an uncrowded Costco, enjoying our $1.35 ridiculously large frozen yogurts. SUCH a deal.
We were heading towards a mom with two young kids, who were seated side by side in the shopping cart. The little boy was whining. The little girl was squirming to get out of the cart. The mom seemed a bit frazzled.
Just as we roll up next to them and I mean right at that EXACT moment, the little boy in the cart starts crying, leans over the cart, and throws up everywhere.
In our direction.
Within spraying distance of us and our yogurt.
Now, before I continue with the story…let’s talk about me and puke.
I was very, very sick throughout all three of my pregnancies with a debilitating condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which affects only 1% of pregnant women. (It seems nobody had ever heard of it until Princess Kate had it, then suddenly it was big news.)
I threw up, around the clock, for months on end. I could not eat solid food. I slept on the bathroom floor night after night. The nausea was so severe I could not read, or watch TV, or do literally anything but lie there waiting for another day to end. I was hospitalized, hydrated with IV’s, and given all kinds of meds, which were nearly useless.
And because of all this, I have a little PTSD when it comes to vomiting.
Because I cannot handle being around it. At all.
When my own sweet children have the stomach flu, I scream for my husband and then hide far enough away that I cannot hear the revolting sound coming from the bathroom.
On the rare occasions that this happens and I am alone with the kids, I shove them into the bathroom and stand in the hall behind the closed door cheering them on guiltily, “It’s ok! You’re doing great! You can totally do this by yourself!”
As a result my children are very independent pukers. Not a bad thing, really.
But I digress – back to the vomiting boy at Costco.
So…I freeze in place.
My stomach lurches and I start to feel sick. But I realize that I have a bunch of napkins and wipes right there in my purse, which I know this now VERY frazzled mom would probably REALLY appreciate right about now.
And so my plan is to hold my breath, try to not look at the vomit-covered children, cart and ground and hand her the napkins.
Until the kid leans over the cart again and just absolutely unleashes what appears to be the contents of every single Costco sample table, over and over again, as only a child in public can do.
The mom and I make eye contact.
I know I should help her.
But suddenly my stomach is in my throat and I am not frozen any longer.
I am RUNNING.
Like my life depends on it.
Away from the poor lady and the poor puking kid and the poor other kid that’s sitting next to the puking kid.
As fast as I can grab my daughter and her chocolate yogurt and all the other crap in our cart, I run.
And I don’t look back.
And I know it’s really, really horrible that I didn’t help a fellow mom when I had the chance. I had napkins. I was right there.
So Costco mom…if you’re out there somewhere, please know this:
If your kid had been choking, I would’ve jumped in and performed the Heimlich without a second thought.
If he had fallen out of the cart and cracked his head open, I would’ve ripped off my shirt and held it to his bleeding wound and I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
But this…this was just too much for me and I am honestly, truly sorry. It was not my best moment. It was fight or flight and I flew like the wind.
And friends, I wish I could say my story ended there. But alas, it did not.
Exactly one week later, the stomach flu came raging through our house.
Because Karma is real, people.
Karma is real. 😂