thank you, nameless old lady

Today in the store I was thinking about dinner and my grocery list and Nels and Sophie were walking in front of the cart in a way that was kind of annoying and we got to a constricted area in the aisle and I sharply asked Nels (again!) to walk in front of the cart, not on the side of the cart. I look up and see an elderly gal hustling her ass to move her cart (which is why the aisle was constricted, which I hadn’t even noticed), and say to me quite humbly, “Oh excuse me, I’m very sorry.” I am thinking about my children, not thinking about the aisle being blocked and without eye contact, hustling my little baby chicks along I say, “Oh, it’s alright.” in that polite way you do.

“No, no it’s not,” she continues, moving her cart. “You have two little ones and we need to help you look out for them,” she warmly continues. I am somewhat speechless, wanting to do as I usually do, apologize for my son slowing traffic down or for them picking up things they shouldn’t or being too loud or all the ways I’m told my children are a problem for just being them. Instead I say, “Well… thank you!” continuing along and genuinely feeling grateful. My eyes actually sting that someone is showing me kindness and deference for being a mother of young children. “You’re welcome. You’re very welcome,” she is still firmly following me with her voice as I head to the checkout.

I felt like an astronaut recently returned from the moon, a veteran of foreign wars, heralded as a big fucking hero.

Home, dinner prep, a call to the local preschool co-op. Try to nap. I am getting sick – a sore throat. I can feel it. My son doesn’t sleep in his room and I get about 10 minutes before he makes a loud noise and wakes me up and I am so, so sad to be awake again.

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