As we were leaving the grocery store yesterday, Addison says to me, “mama, you know that lady that put our groceries in the bag? I love that lady.” There was really nothing particularly noteworthy about her. I don’t even think she spoke to us. And I had certainly never met her before or even knew her name. But there we were, checking out after a big shopping, and Addison decisively announced she loved that lady.
Since I went back to work in April after a three month maternity leave, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to explain what ‘work’ is to my kids. So whenever we come across someone doing a job, I try and explain that it’s their job – and everybody is responsible for helping our world in some way. I think they get the basic concept. Sort of. Doctors help people feel better, I explain, teachers help children learn, policemen keep people safe…you get the idea.
Her fixation on the grocery store bagger made me think about a book from when I was her age, that I used to love about a little town and all the jobs that people did throughout town, like the construction worker, the mail carrier, etc. to help the town run better. I feel lucky that even for a short moment, I am able to re-experience that pure and innocent perspective through her eyes once again. The unconditional trust that people’s intentions are nothing but good and kind.
Because as I read more and more about the BP oil spill it’s hard not to feel sickened by allegations that equipment inspectors responsible for enforcing safety and environmental rules on offshore rigs — were taking bribes by the oil companies they were supposed to be policing, including hunting trips, sporting tickets and meals.
So at night, when I’m watching the news and story after story reports on the horrible ramifications of this disaster and BP’s despicable corporate behavior, I’ll try to remember the grocery store bagger and how much my daughter loves that lady.