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Unexpected Flowers

Leslie Brown

Being that my folks live in the D.C. area, I am familiar with the grocery store Trader Joe’s; I love it! I am a little bit T.O.’d they don’t carry the broken Ghiradelli bulk chocolate anymore….but I digress.

Well, anyway, a couple took their two little kids with them to pick up some items at “T.J.’s”. Let’s just say it was not a fun trip.

The family is already the recipient of a lot of a stares, what with the fact that mama is a “blondie” and has two beautiful Ethiopia children. (Side note: What IS it with Ethiopians?? I have never seen such beautiful people anywhere?)

The little boy, Mareto, has autism which can lead to “melt-downs”, when he is overstimulated. The baby girl has some physical abnormalities, so the family unit is already a bit of an anomaly and things were not getting any better.

Mareto was screaming like a human “neon light” drawing attention to the whole explosive matter. Don’t you hate it when you get embarrassed and you can just feel your armpits sting as if to warn you of a “SERIOUS B.O. ALERT”?

Finally on the way to the car, the mother Lauren is stopped as a woman rushes out from Trader Joe’s clad in a T.J. uniform and hands her a bouquet of flowers. She tells Lauren,

“I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” “I was adopted as a baby, and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.”

As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and tried to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful and walked back into the store.

My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and tears that had spilled over onto my cheeks. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… she did. But she didn’t see what I assumed everyone was seeing. She didn’t think what I assumed everyone was thinking. She saw beauty and love and hope and family. She thought we were wonderful and it made her smile.

I wish I had thought to get her name. I wish I could go back and tell her, two years later, what her gift continues to mean to me today. To the beautiful young woman in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s … thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure.

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