Mom Bumps Carts with Woman at Target, Asks if She's Okay. Moments Later, They're Both Crying


Nikki Pennington’s open letter to the moms scouring over back-to-school sales is a perfect reminder that you never know what those around you are going through.

It was Pennington’s first year to participate in the chaotic games of back-to-school shopping. If you haven’t been to the back-to-school section of your local supermarket, you may not be able to fully understand — just imagine Black Friday with wide-ruled spiral notebooks instead of televisions.

She mentally prepared herself, however, and even dropped by a coffee shop to make sure she was adequately caffeinated.

“I came prepared in my yoga pants and with Starbucks ready to fight off the crowds and grab the last red two pocket folder out of someone’s hands in a hurry if needed for my son,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

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But as she picked up the first item on her list, a 24-pack of crayons, the emotions of what this shopping trip meant hit her.

She decided to set down the crayons and moved on to the folder aisle hoping that they wouldn’t spark as emotional of a response.

“After all, what kind of emotions can folders bring up I mean really,” she wrote.

When she pulled into the aisle, she accidentally bumped into another mom’s cart, but Pennington now believes it wasn’t just by accident.

They passed a cordial smile and began sifting through the different folders. The other mom sighed and Pennington noticed.

“I asked you if you were okay,” she wrote in her open letter. “I don’t normally ask strangers in Target if they are okay but at that moment you weren’t a stranger. You were a fellow Mom knee deep in emotions in the folder aisle just like me.”

The other mom looked up at her and said, “No, no I’m not.”

Pennington instantly felt a weight lift off of her shoulders, because she was still trying to get her emotions under control from the crayon aisle.

Right there, in the middle of the folder aisle, the two moms began crying.

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They shared, through tears, that they were both struggling with the emotions of letting their babies go to school for the first time.

“Both (of us) had babies that were becoming big boys right before our eyes,” Pennington wrote. “Both flooded with tears, memories and emotions and realizing we don’t know what a darn poly two pocket folder even is.”

These two moms realized that the crayons, folders, and other items on their lists meant that memories were going to made and their little boys were growing up which means they had to let go.

After talking for a little while, the two women hugged and continued their shopping, each feeling a little less alone.

“Tomorrow I’ll watch as my baby walks away wearing a backpack two times his size,” Pennington wrote. “I’ll hold back the tears until he’s out of sight and know that growing up means letting go. It means giving him roots and helping him find his wings to fly.”

She then ended her letter by giving a gentle reminder to those who may look at those moms crying around back-to-school season with confusion: “Just remember you might be us one day soon.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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