Broken in the Toy Aisle

Last night in the toy aisle of Target I met a woman who made me cry.

While our four girls, two of hers and two of mine, played with plastic-wrapped dolls and balls that weren’t ours, we introduced ourselves. She realized quickly that even an introduction was impossible without backstory.

I didn’t know her name and yet there she was, telling me about finding her husband in bed with another women, her seven months pregnant, finding out that he’d done the same during her first pregnancy a year or so earlier, realizing that she’d be raising two girls alone because their father was… I can’t even come up with a word to describe a man who cheats on his pregnant wife.

We bonded over having gone to Freed together although we hadn’t known each other, over attending churches of Christ, over having daughters of almost identical ages. I liked her hair and her super-cute jeans.

I couldn’t help but imagine myself in her place—all that hurt, disappointment, sadness. What do you do when the life you’d planned isn’t the life you’ll be living? What do you do when the baby inside you won’t be born into the healthy family you’d tried so hard to build for her? What do you do when everything changes, when your solid world melts to liquid or evaporates into air?

For one, you take your daughters, your perfect, innocent, curly-haired, deserve-so-much-more daughters, to Target and you buy them new, never-been-broken toys.