A Monday- like every other person, Mondays are hectic, especially in the morning. After two days of holiday, again the mundane routine starting at 5;30 in the morning. Waking up my baby girls and the big boy, making them ready for the school and office. Preparing breakfast, three people’s tiffin; for lunch and snack, meanwhile feeding the girls, yelling at them to chew and swallow the food in their mouth, tying their hair, from head to toe checking if they are properly dressed. As in every woman’s life, the morning time goes crazy, no time to think, just goes like a machine. The machine starts at 5:30 and stops at, I do not know what time it stops, a stay at home mom, cannot take leave, no specific time for logging out. It’s not just my story, anywhere in the world, a woman would be doing all these as a machine. Lucky she would be if she has a helping hand.
One and a half-hour after, the big girl would be ready for school. Her father would take her to the bus stand, on the way to the bus stand she waves at me. I see many parents going with their kids to the bus stop which is a furlong away. Some would be running as its almost time for the bus to leave. It is then, I wake my little baby girl up for her school. Again, the same sequence of actions, waking her up, bathing her, feeding and dealing with her morning drama. And right at 8:45 am we would leave for her preschool. In the car, she would tell me what all she would be doing that day, what she would tell her teachers and friends, and also about events that she forgot to tell me the previous school day.
After dropping her, I drive to Walmart Supercenter for my weekly grocery purchase. After parking the car, I walk to the store and most of the days I see an old man either at the entrance waiting to greet the customers or he would be trailing the trolleys back to the store from the parking slot. He would be in his 70s, slightly bald, wrinkled face with gold-rimmed glasses, wearing a chequered shirt, pants, and a Walmart overall uniform. Every time I see him, he always has this bright smile on his face. Even while he trails the trolleys, if we happen to come in front of him, he would lift his face up, smile and say “Good morning”. It is such a pleasant sight of seeing those beautiful smiles that even when I’m in no good mood, I would swing into a full-fledged smile back at him. It has become so strong that all my bad moods are flown away in an instant. After my shopping, he would be at the door to check the bills, I would take the bill and show it to him. He would say with those pleasant smiles “you are fine ma’am, you are good to go, Have a wonderful week”. If I don’t see him and if someone else stands in his place, I wouldn’t do the same, and I would just pass on. But this man, I always take the bill to him just to hear those words from him and see his smile.
I don’t know who he is, what his name is, how old he would be, who all would be at his home, how he used to look like 20 years back. Did he use a smile like this then? What all would be going through his head when he smiles at us? What all turbulences he would have faced in his life making his smile beautiful and elegant? Would I be smiling openly like him when I’m at his age?
We are all so stressed up that we forget the powerful weapon we are all bestowed with. The smile we have is the mightiest weapon against all odds. It shows the hope, the trust accentuating the confidence in us that everything will be fine. I remember, back in my school days, my teachers used to call me a ‘smiling girl’ and they had asked me “why do you smile like this all the time”. Time passed, 15 plus years after, now when I look at myself, I wonder where that smile has gone. The events that life is throwing are making difficult to smile.
However, since after seeing the Walmart man, his smile reminds me how powerful our smile is, upon ourselves and for others. Smiling at all those odds, and challenging those and reassuring ourselves that everything will be fine. Smiling for all those wonderful and even the smallest things we have in life. I wonder how much that man has influenced me, I have never seen him before, do not know who he is and has never talked to him other than those usual sentences, but still, he has helped me a lot in bringing back my smile which is also beautiful 😊. We do not know how we could influence others, to bring a positive impact on others just a “hi, how are you?” is more than enough. Look around us, every person has their own stories, most of those would be tougher than ours. We might not be even knowing we would be helping others by just with a smile.
On the way back home, I would smile at myself, for my little girls, for being able to have this morning rush, for being able to yell at someone close to my heart which for them would be “oh mamma, started again!”. Later on, after 20 years or something when I see young mothers, I could recollect what all I did when I was their age. My Mondays, my grocery shopping at the Walmart is an excuse to see him as well, the energy that he reflects is very much enough to help me through the week. If he can do it, I also can do it. Like he is to me, sometimes I might be helping someone unconsciously.
An addition: I wrote this three months back, it has been almost two months since I have stepped out of the house, I haven’t seen him since then, I wonder how he would be, still working there or not, remembering him in the prayers to keep him safe wherever he is.