It’s been almost two months since my angel came into this world. Life with her has been different, to say the least. It’s beautiful, but if I’m honest with you, there are days when simply getting through is the goal and beauty is far from a possibility. Believe it or not, there are days when I actually feel worthless. This was one of those days.

I was tired. Aliyah had been up all night— not crying, just up — and she refused to be up alone. (A friend of mine came to visit the week before and it demolished my baby girl’s schedule, so we’re basically starting over now.)

It was the morning after, Labor Day, and the weather was decent, so we decided to grill out. I had to stop by the store, so I ran to the bathroom to throw on some deodorant and grab a hair tie (after all, I was going out in public).

As I rushed toward the door, someone stopped me. I knew this person well, but I didn’t recognize her. Her hair was a mess, her face was pale, and her body offered no rebuttal. Everything about this woman screamed motherhood, and it wasn’t exactly pretty.

Shaking off emotion, I grabbed Aliyah and a few of her things, slipped on some flip flops to complement my gym shorts and headed for the store.

While at the Neighborhood Walmart (which was apparently the place to be on everyone’s day off), I got the usual “she’s so cute” and “wow, all that hair” just about a million times.

I had her strapped to my chest in the gray carrier my brother bought. It made it easier to shop, but the trip was taking longer than expected. Aliyah was getting restless.

She started crying and wouldn’t stop. I found myself more embarrassed than concerned. I bounced for a few minutes, attempting to soothe her.

In a moment of temporary relief, an older woman with long, curly locks walked toward me. She had a similar reaction as all the others when she noticed the tiny feet dangling in front of my torso.

“Oh my goodness. She’s so tiny. She’s gorgeous.”

“Thank you,” I replied, following the queue to look down at my beautiful girl.

“Thank you,” she emphasized as if I had done her a favor. I could feel her eyes trying to catch mine. Not knowing her intentions, I refused the intimacy and placed my hand on Aliyah’s back protectively.

“Thank you for having a baby,” she clarified gently.

My eyes shot up, trying to reconcile, but she had already turned away.

My heart swelled, regretful of the encounter. I wish I had been more welcoming, more happy, cracked a genuine smile at the least. I wanted to sit down with her and explain how blessed I was to have my girl, how she was the best thing to happen to me, how there was no way I would’ve ever not had her.

I kissed my baby. She was the only one that needed to know. She could cry through every shopping trip or make me late for every meeting. I’d take no makeup days and dirty hair for months if it meant I’d have her.

She is my joy, my love, my laughter, my pride and my blessing.

Days like these remind us of our selfish nature. We want more for ourselves than we want for others. Days like these remind us that love is a choice, it requires effort. It requires us to chose someone else before ourselves. Days like these remind us of a promise – love will never fail.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”  1 CORINTHIANS 13:13

Thanks for the rainbow friendly Neighborhood Walmart lady.

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