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Reality Check in Isle Too-Bad-So-Sad for Emily |

Reality Check in Isle Too-Bad-So-Sad for Emily

So the past few days have really been hard. When I wrote about narrowly escaping stepping in neon vomit, little did I know that would be the very moment that would start the next 72 hours of my life.

Nola sick.

Piper sick.

Gage, kinda sick.


We’re talking high fevers, digestive issues, misery turned up to ELEVEN.

I watched my beautiful king-sized ergo adjustable base oasis-of-a-bed (that I totally won in a contest), turn into an epic infirmary nest, filled with disgust and germs.


I did my best to be a good wife, mother, and caregiver. I tried my darnedest to do it with a joyful and willing heart. But honestly, I was miserable just like the rest of them, minus a case of the poops.

And then yesterday afternoon, I got denied a fancy opportunity I considered entitled to. And frankly, it fueled my fire and pissed me off even more.


Bitter I became. Hot with anger towards to world. Everything was wrong, I was living in the seventh circle of the realm.

And in the midst of my misery this afternoon, I went to the grocery store to get “sick supplies”.

While I was checking out, a mother and her 2 kids (about Gage and Paul’s age) were checking out right before me. She was undoubtly down on her luck. You know the type, or maybe you don’t. She was pleasant, she was sad, she had rightfully reached the end of her rapidly fraying rope.

I watched her pull out $10 to pay for her groceries, and still come up $5.42 short of her total. Those green grapes, they cost too much.

I then watched the very understanding check-out clerk start pulling one grape off the vine at a time, weighing it and putting it on the scale, so she could get as many grapes as possible for her $10.

So she could spend every penny of that $10, and not miss a single grape.

I welled up. I just couldn’t stand it. How could this be happening?

I felt so stupid, sitting in my pile of self loathing sink. Checking out with my organic applesauce, bottles of 100% juice, fancy string cheese, and all-grass fed whole milk.

Without really making eye contact, I handed the clerk six dollar bills.

She quickly finished the transaction.

I looked at the other mother, she looked at me. She said thanks, and I replied “no problem”.

That’s the whole story, she got her grapes, and I got my priorities realigned. Done.

We were both just moms, trying to survive. Albeit very (VERY) different lives.

And I feel ashamed for getting upset over ridiculous and trivial things I let bother me on a daily basis.




  1. Oh, Emily, I love this. And it’s worth far more than all of the grapes and opportunities combined. You’re lovely. No matter what.


  2. Oh Emily! This just made lips quiver and I came really close to the ugly cry! Thanks for sharing this…and realigning my priorities and mindset too.

    Last summer I was chatting it up with a mom at the park who had two kids my kids age. I could tell they were a little rough around the edges…but she just seemed young and she told me she was a single mom. Then I found out they were homeless…and currently had four nights paid at a nearby sketchy motel. I couldn’t believe it! Boy…were my “problems” put into their proper place that day. BUT how quickly I forget! Thanks for the reminder!


  3. I’m lying on my bed, bitter because I have a terrible, horrible cold (seriously…never had a cold as bad ad this one) and the baby is sick and we have had vacation bible school at church all week which means my husband hasn’t been home after work to help because he’s taking the non-sick children to VBS and my dog just vomited bile on the floor AGAIN and all I want to do is close my eyes and sleep but I can’t because I’m worried sick about the baby who sounds like she’s about to hack up a lung in her crib and whaaaaaaaa. So I feel ya. Pity party for one in GA. (Maybe I should go to the store tomorrow and look for an opportunity like this. Or at least buy some food, seeing as we have nothing left but a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and some cucumbers.) Blerg.
    Bridget recently posted..We needed this.


  4. Jessica says:

    Good story. Thanks for sharing. It is so easy to forget our blessings.
    Sorry about the sickies–hope they feel better soon (and you don’t get the bug). Hang in there.


  5. I miss everything these days. Glad I caught this one. No one not no one should miss a but of perspective when it’s offered. Now I have some for myself…so thanks for sharing.


  6. Beautiful. I love that you saw this as a transaction and not charity, that you received something too.


  7. And now I cry.
    Katie recently posted..Commitment and the Indiana Fever


  8. Sarah Partain says:

    Sorry it’s been such a tough week. Great post though. Hurry up and get well–the pool opens this weekend!


  9. Geez–talk about a good cry first thing in the morning. What a great, humbling story. Thank you for your honesty. We’ve all been there–I promise. And bless you for helping her. God sure does keep us humble, doesn’t He?
    Amanda recently posted..Heaven


  10. Crying at work! What an awesome story…seriously.


  11. I love this line: she got her grapes, and I got my priorities realigned.


  12. I just found your blog via @mooshinindy … first post I read was this one and I had to share that I just had a very similar-ish slap in the face about 20 mins ago…In my usual coffee shop, worrying about getting my work done before returning home to my three needy – but beautiful and healthy children… w/ speckles of worry about getting to yoga, booking a trip,etc … when the same mom of three that I always see walks in (usually we see each other here or at the park next door while both chasing our 3 respective crazy children) … her 14 month old son in his same hand made knitted pants .. and her older girls, same shoes and same crazy hair. She looks shocked that I could ever be in public w/ out my three…obviously, she never has this luxury. She tells me she can only go where her feet can take her – they have no car. She can go to Target, this coffee shop and the park. And she tells me with a smile on her face.

    And I go in the bathroom and tears hit me. Who am I, I think?! We all have our stories and it’s nice to be reminded of walking in other people’s shoes..especially if those shoes do a lot of walking…strapped down by 3 kids.

    Thanks for sharing – great blog btw – glad I found you!


    Kristin Hackman Reply:

    @Kristin Hackman,


  13. and in that moment – Grapes=love. True…understanding and love.


  14. Classyfabsarah says:

    Thanks for sharing. I hope your sickies are on the mend soon.


  15. Awesome post Emily!! I’m not surprised at all by your gift of 6 dollars, i’m shocked by the patience of the check out clerk, patiently weighing the grapes. Over Memorial Day weekend, there was a young mother, using her foodstamps in front of the express line, the man in front of me got nasty about waiting and left the line which put me behind her. The cashier was huffy and rude, her shift had ended 20 minutes earlier, I know that because as she was doing her transaction she made the phone call to the office complaining that she hadn’t been relieved.. there was 1 item she couldn’t get b/c it wasn’t on the stamp, it was sliced cheese, and I had only carried enough cash in with me for what I needed or I would have just paid for.. those cheese slices have bugged me ever since, I just keep thinking of that saying that goes something like “everyone is fighting some kind of battle, be kind”…
    Tiffany recently posted..My summer song about our kids and where I word dump how summer vacation is going so far…


  16. You are amazing, Emily. Just simply amazing.


  17. This is just great Emily… I am so touched with your story. It makes me realize, I am lucky.
    claire recently posted..Best Time To Conceive


  18. Girl.


  19. I love this. And I love you more now.
    Shannon McAvoy recently posted..10 months happened SO fast!


  20. Hi Emily.. You are just so amazing girl.. I guess every mommy will be inspired with this.. Anyway, I hope they get well soon..
    Nellie recently posted..Fingerprint Gun Safe


  21. Oh yeah…when God steps in to show us our blessings. Sometimes he has to punch us in the gut to get us to see, huh?

    This post makes me so proud to say you’re my friend.
    Katie recently posted..Project 365 {week 23}


  22. Sweet sweet friend,

    I started to read this post and thinking, “Poor Em having a sick family is no fun”, to ” I feel sorry for the mother with the grapes” So happy that you could be of help, you have a sweet heart !!!!!

    Hoping that you are all feeling better now!
    Renee recently posted..Hitting the SNOOZE button



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