Tuesday, March 26, 2013
26:31 -- Time's up...
After all, there's no point in going to the grocery store if you don't have it. The aisles, guaranteed, will be full. The checkout lines, guaranteed, will be long.
You have to have time to go to the grocery store, and I had it today....because one baby didn't want to take his usual three-hour morning nap. So after a few failed attempts that resulted in a little red face, and small crocodile tears, and one mommy who was tired of waiting for sleep to be productive, we grabbed our list and headed to the store.
Inside the woolly pumpkin seat situated in the back of the cart, one tiny guy rode through the aisles. He made eyes at me...he stuck out his tongue at me (not offensively, this is his new trick...and it's cute)...he checked out the advertisement art hanging from the ceiling...he watched the shelves blur into a colorful mosaic. He was pleasant. We had time.
Until it started to disappear like flour through a sieve. I couldn't gather it in my hand fast enough to finish our list.
His eyes turned red.
His little voice began to protest,
softly at first and then louder with each pause of the cart.
Our shopping pace increased steadily...and then rapidly...until we made it to the checkout line.
We picked the checkout lane with the shortest line. In front of us in aisle 12, a caramel-haired woman, with two young grandsons, stocked the conveyor belt. They were busy with corn and candy and chatter while I pushed and pulled our cart in appeasement. I sh-sh-sh-ed, gently at first and then with gusto commensurate to my stress level.
Then, the frustrated 'I'm-done-with-this' cries set in.
"Oh, look, boys. There's a little baby in that cart. Maybe he's hungry. You were that tiny once with a little voice like that," she looked at them through the glasses of her memory. They surrounded around us, offering factual birth order tidbits and information of no consequence.
A polite smile plastered itself onto my rocking body. Don't stop moving, he'll REALLY cry then.
The three of them returned to mounding and piling and talking and planning...until they stopped, turning toward us again.
"Would you like to go ahead? I know he's ready to get home and you probably are too. Please." With outstretched arms, she bulldozed her perfect piles to make room for ours near the checkout scanner. With empathetic eyes, she beckoned.
Never one to impose, I gathered my words with mounting confidence. "Yes, I'll accept. Thank you. We missed our nap window this morning, so now he's over-tired...and well, just...done."
She nodded, backing up her cart. "Boys, please move out of the way so she can go ahead of us." They moved, absorbing in real-time the the life lesson their grandmother handed them.
The cashier sensed we were out of time too. She speedily scanned and bagged baking goods and Easter fare and seven kinds of soup. Swiping my card, signing my name, and transferring the bags to the cart became one fluid motion moving us closer to the car.
I turned, connecting my dark brown eyes to her green ones. "Really. Thank you. It was so kind of you to make things easier for us today. I'm grateful."
"It's my pleasure. I remember those days. It's nice to be able to help."
And there we all stood in the 10' x 4' checkout lane at Target, our eyes glued to each other and swimming in her remarkable act of kindness...feeling like we had all the time in the world.