Last week we were in the grocery store checkout at the worst possible time of day. It was almost five o'clock. I try to never go to the grocery store at such a ghastly hour, when every mother or father is there trying to figure out dinner at the exact same time. This day, I had forgotten the ginger, and you can't make a pork tenderloin with ginger and honey sauce without it, so alas, there we were. You and Kaden are usually very well behaved on trips to the grocery store, but this day, you were especially feisty. He kept head butting you, and every time he did, you would let out a high pitched scream and pull his hair, and then he would scream. Then, with a perfectly timed sassy spin, the classy lady waiting in front of us would turn around and stare. It was not your brightest moment. I was standing there shushing you, pushing this gigantic car cart (that was supposed to magically guarantee your civility) with only a two-inch piece of ginger in the basket. I'm pretty sure I had food smeared on me somewhere, and I'm 100% positive that my face was some shade of red. And of course, just to make the whole experience even more fun, we had chosen the checkout line with the one employee who seemed content to move at a snail's pace.
And then this little old lady walked up to me. Here it comes, I thought. I stiffened. I was waiting for the classic, "You've got your hands full!" line, or some variation of it. But instead, she beamed at me, and said,
"May I rent one of these? They are the most beautiful children I have ever seen!"
And you and Kaden stopped and grinned shyly right back at her. And you waved your chubby fingers and said, "Hi!"
And my heart felt a smidgen of guilt: that it in this heated moment, I might have wished you both away. That standing there in aisle three of the grocery store, smooshed between tiered layers of candy bars and magazines, you felt like an inconvenience. A hindrance.
When really, this stranger, with her wrinkled skin and graying hair, knew you in that moment better than I did.
Most of the time I remember, but for a second I forgot. You are beautiful. Your brother is beautiful. And I get to be now, and forever, your Mommy.
I love you to the moon and back, Evers.