Conversation in Save-a-Lot

I was alone in the grocery store for the first time in ages tonight. 

Just as I reached for the fridge door to grab a carton of OJ, this burley tattooed biker guy with bandana I’d seen hovering earlier approached. His buggy was starting to fill up. Mine too. 


ME: 😒::::trying quietly to decide which OJ to get::::

BIKER: “I noticed you’re married?”

ME: “Yep…. Four tiny children too.” (((I usually say eight if someone seems creepy. This guy was chill tho…his energy output was a solid mixture of sadness, kindness, and harmlessness.)))

BIKER: :::polite, bashful tone:::: “I thought so. I had figured you’re shopping for your family.” 

ME: “Well…. ….actually this is for my mama. She has the flu and asked me to get her list of things. My husband has the kids at home. He’s cooking dinner.”

BIKER: ::::head hangs over shopping cart, elbows on the push bar, exhausted:::: “I was just watching you thinking how nice it would be to have a wife to help with the grocery shopping. Or just…help. With anything. I try hard. I have some little ones too. But it’s tough sometimes. Being alone is tough.”

:::::insert a few more pretty real, raw pertinent human comments before we parted::::::

……y’all. This convo has stuck with me for hours. The sadness that poured from his energy. The realness conveyed. I wasn’t expecting something like that in the grocery store. It really made me appreciate all the support Kevin gives me in so many little ways too. 

So many people out there are secretly alone and aching right in the middle of all the crowds. 

Anyway. All this to say….stay kind. Show compassion to others. 

Listen to their words. 

Really listen. 

Even if they’re just a stranger passing by the dairy aisle.

Nice memory to visit, don’t  want to live there

How do you neat mamas do it? 

I’m a slob. Or rather, a recovering one. I try really hard but my skills and motivations are lacking in many areas. Around our house I am responsible for all house maintenance, yard work and car cleaning. It’s like a devil’s triangle…when I find myself happily taking care of one, the other two slip past my immediate attention and suddenly look like a landfill opened up and puked from above. I can’t seem to grasp a happy medium on a simple tidy scale for all three. It gets frustrating.   

Today, I spent a few hours spring cleaning my totally trashed Honda Odyssey minivan filled with sand, eleven coats (11?!), fifteen pairs of shoes (only two of which were mine, thanks), random toys, papers, hair bows, and enough candy and food to feed a third world country. I may or may not have crunched a plastic bottle up against the tree and cursed at a falling leaf that accidentally slipped through the door and landed on a spot inside the van I had just cleaned. 

As I was wiping down the dash board and scrubbing the leather, I found myself day dreaming about my first brand new car I purchased at age 21 – a cute Suzuki Grand Vitari mini SUV. I treated her like a baby…kept her immaculate, immediately spit polished any tiny smudges, vacuumed weekly, swept daily and allowed no food whatsoever in it. 

But then, as I tossed Maggie (who was digging sandcastles ten feet away) a small Cinderella figurine I found stuck upside down in the console, I remembered how alone I was at that point in my life.

Completely and utterly alone. 

Today I’m 31 years old, have beautiful three children, and am expecting a fourth. I have a husband who loves me and a great circle of friends. 

That first car stayed spotless because I had no one to mess it up. I had no tiny hands grasping at French fries, no Barbie princesses to get stuck in the seat cracks, no tiny feet kicking off shoes and yanking off socks, no sounds of a toddler singing Fraggle Rock from behind me and more often than not, only one single body ever rode in it. 

And I realized, as I finished the final scrubbing and shut the sliding door, that while daydreams of our past are nice to momentarily visit… I wouldn’t want to live there.