The Gospel from Tom Thumb

Posted by Kelly.Staples on July 14, 2014

Almost every single Friday, I make my way to Tom Thumb to do my weekly grocery shopping. This particular Friday was no exception.

So I'm checking out with an insane amount of food (seriously, anyone who sees my cart must think I'm the matriarch of a family of 6), when the man bagging my groceries notices my pregnant belly. He gets a big smile on his face and exclaims, "You're having a baby!"

"Yes, I am," I reply.

"When's it coming?"


"Do you know what it is yet?" he asks.

"It's a girl." I say with a smile because I'm inevitably picturing holding my child in my arms instead of in my abdomen.

And that's when this conversation went to hell. Because that man looked at me and shook his head and said, "Aww, I'm sorry. I bet your husband is really disappointed."

What. The. Heck.

In my head I start recapping the conversation to figure out if he could have misunderstood me and thought I said, "I swallowed a pearl, my hair won't curl, or I can't twirl." I'm searching for anything that could have come out of my mouth that would necessitate this man's pity. Because there is no mistaking the look on this guy's face. He feels bad for me.

Because my baby is a girl. 

I spend a lot of time reading about the need for feminism in our society and responses to people who are rude or really think that one's humanity is somewhat diminished by possessing two X chromosomes. Those comments I can respond to with righteous indignation. I can snap back; I can use my angry words. But this guy wasn't trying to be mean, or rude, or even make a statement about gender politics. He felt genuinely sorry for me and saw me (or perhaps more realistically, my husband) as someone deserving of pity and an understanding word. This was him trying to be supportive to a stranger he'd encountered. And I had no idea how to deal with that.

So I just sputtered out, "Uhhhhh…" with the accidental smile that appears when I'm embarrassed and uncomfortable. (Side note: does that happen to anyone else?)

To which he immediately followed up with a comment about my husband needing to purchase a gun. 

Great… we were now entering into the "women are property and must be protected from the evils of dating" territory. This is way more up my alley, so I take a deep breath and prepared to unleash my fury….. when the gospel intervened.

The gospel took the form of the very sassy Hispanic woman who was scanning my groceries.

"[Name of Random Bagger], You did NOT just tell that lady that her husband is disappointed. You don't know her, you don't know her family. People like girls! She's a girl, I'm a girl! Little girls are good!"

And the bag man sputtered, "Uhhh well, that's not what I meant."

But the gospel in a Tom Thumb uniform cut him off with an arched eyebrow and shook her head. She kept scanning the groceries with a beep, beep, beep while muttering, "Acting like there's something wrong having a baby girl, like they let you pick or something."

I knew she (and I) were right, that there is nothing wrong with being a female, but sometimes the Gospel is reminding people what they already know, affirming it when things are shaky or even experiencing the slightest tremor.

Humans are made in the image of God. We are special and we are loved. The book of Genesis says that after creating humans God looked on them and called them "very good."

We are a very good thing. We may struggle with what we do on this earth. But there is nothing wrong with who we are. We are exactly as our creator made us. We are God's children, God's baby boys and girls, and we are good.

I'm grateful to the sassy check-out lady for the reminder, for her proclamation. Because sometimes you have to share good news, even if someone's heard it before.

I signed my receipt and left, declining, of course, the bagger's help to the car because this girl's quite capable of loading her own groceries thankyouverymuch, big belly and all.


Posted by Guest on
Oh Kelly, You are really good. You take everyday circumstance and make it accountable to the times as they really are as we deal with life at Tom Thumb.
Posted by Guest on
Wouldn't it be a good idea to mention this exchange to the Tom Thumb manager? Sensitivity training MIGHT help counter-balance the ignorance. And, lucky you, having a daughter! Congratulations!
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