Today I had lunch with my family and then did a little shopping on my lunch break. I seldom make it to main stream stores any more, but I needed to stop at Target for disposable diapers for my son. I started out embarrassed that I was buying disposable diapers, but by the time I left the store that was the least of my worries. After being astounded to pay 36.5 cents per diaper (that makes nice cloth look pretty cheap, especially considering the resale value of cloth), I went a few isles over to look for straw cups and sippy cups. Colored plastic all round! No stainless here. But I succumbed to the call of the plastic and picked up a nuby straw cup for our daughter and some more “take and toss” (we rewash rewash) straw cups for our son. Sigh. I wish I could ditch the plastic, but somehow that never happens.
Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Stores full of stuff. Stuff we don’t need. We have our fair share (and then some) of stuff we don’t need, but I mean this is stuff no one needs. Stuff that should never have been made. Do people really buy this stuff? I guess they must or it wouldn’t be here.
I quickly went through the children’s clothing section looking for pants for my son. Nope. They have no pants. Only shorts. I mean, who on earth would need pants when it’s spring. Lows in the lower 40s this weekend, but you shouldn’t need pants, right? Humph. Ok. Maybe not.
Then a cart passed with a crying baby in it. The parents were talking to each other and yelling at an older child and not even looking at the baby. I’m really bothered by this. The made no move to comfort baby or see if there was something baby needed. If my son had been with me he would have said urgently “baby cry! Baby needs mama boob!” Mama boobs are instrumental in making the world better in his mind.
While I was shopping I started hearing things from the next isle over that I would never imagine saying in public, let alone in the children’s section of a store – well actually I wouldn’t ever say them, anywhere. As I passed by on my way to the checkouts I saw an obviously pregnant girl and her boyfriend and his friend picking out a car seat. The girl was silent and the boys were loud, rude, and vulgar. I felt for the girl. I feel for the child. I wanted to give her a hug. I wanted to invite her to our local birth circle of loving and caring women. Maybe I should have? I saw them again at the checkout. The friend loudly boasting what a bad influence he was going to be on the baby. The girl just standing there. What should I have done? When I see things like that it makes a different part of the motherly me surface. I want to mother the mother. I want to show her how things can be different, and things she can do for her baby. I want to make sure she has a healthy pregnancy. I want her to have a joyful birth. I want to tell her about Attachment Parenting. About the joy of wearing your baby. Heck, I’d even give her a carrier. But would it matter? I don’t know. Maybe she is just trying to get by. Trying to survive. Did she want to get pregnant? Does she want to be with this man? How long will she and the baby be with this man? Will he help support them? Will she have breastfeeding support? Probably not. I doubt that she has the support she needs. I doubt that she is prepared for what is to come. An event that can rock even a strong marriage. An event that will completely change her life. What can someone like me do but offer her a smile?
So, I guess this is a negative post. But that shopping trip scared me. Scared me for society. For our world. And it also made me realize both how lucky I am and how much I live in my own little world. My little world where homebirth, cloth diapers, and wool are not atypical. My world where people carry their babies and attend to them if they cry. My world where parents love each other. My world where people grow their food and cook from scratch. My world where kids don’t drink mountain dew while eating ice cream at age 4. My world with no TV an only very select videos. I am very happy that my little world exists and that I’m not alone in it. I have good friends. Friends who give support and guidance. Friends who are crunchier than we are. Friends who do the things I wish I could get it together to do. Friends who are an inspiration to me. I am thankful for my friends and guides and mentors. I am thankful that I know that there is a subculture of crunch out there. We connect at events like our local birth circle and at the farmers market and online communities and blogs. We need each other, and the world needs more crunch I believe.