Four-month-old Gabe and I were at Michael's craft store last week during a mad gift-buying rush when I became overwhelmed by the lack of Christmas cheer among my fellow shoppers; it was still a good two and a half weeks until Christmas and I thought by going on a Monday we would avoid some of the push-and-shove antics many buyers succumb to during what's supposed to be a peaceful and joyful time. We had been to many stores and faced various degrees of crabbiness from various tired and irritated employees; I had yet to be wished a merry Christmas by anyone or hear one in return to my wishes. By the time we hit Michael's, I desperately wanted to escape from the disgruntled masses, take Gabe home and sing Christmas songs while gazing at the tree.
After wading through a sea of people packed as tightly as packing peanuts in a box, we finally made it to the checkout line only to stand waiting behind a dozen people. Gabe was content to watch the people bustle past us and study the contents on the nearby shelves; the lady ahead of me wasn't so fortunate as her toddler began to have a meltdown. I understand, really, I do, as to why her poor little guy melted into a whiny puddle of unhappiness on the check-out lane floor: It was lunch time. mama was a little crabby and people around us were complaining and huffing and puffing. In case you didn't know, bad moods are contagious. As we neared the front of the line and the little tyke in front of us neared the end of his rope, an angel disguised as a Michael's employee saved the day for his poor mom and my Christmas cheer.
"What did you ask Santa for?" the cashier asked the toddler as she quickly scanned his mama's items .
He began listing the items to the smiling lady. I could see the look of relief wash over his mama's face when the toddler became so enwrapped in answering the question that he forgot about his whining..
As the cashier finished the check-out process, the mama smiled at her, gathered her bags and walked her rambling tot toward the door.
"Happy holidays," the clerk called.
I smiled widely at the cashier and she cooed at my little bundle of love. Gabe smiled his toothless grin at her. She inquired his age.
"Four months," I said.
"Oh, this will be baby's first holiday," she said.
"Yes, his first Christmas," I replied.
We finished the payment transaction.
"Happy holidays," she said quietly. Gabe squealed at her. She looked at him and smiled as if he had said spoken something meaningful to her soul. A slight look of bravery spread across her face right before she loudly announced, "Merry Christmas!"
And with that simple greeting my Christmas season became a whole lot merrier.