Some people… Well, lots of people have something to say to me while I am grocery shopping.
I am often baffled by these comments and choose to believe that “it came out wrong”. Or maybe they lack a social tact filter that should be required upon entering public scenarios. I will share some of these comments with you, and maybe drop my filter for a minute and let you in on what sometimes goes through my head.
“You sure have your hands full!”
…Yes, creepy-single-guy, and so do you with your hair gel and light beer. I think technically I had my hands full when I had two kids, but who’s counting.
“You are a busy woman!”
…Being busy implies that there are times when my life is not like this. Grocery shopping is normal, sweet-middle-aged-woman-who-just-got-done-working-out, this IS my normal.
“Are they all yours?”
…This one baffles me the most. What is it? My kids’ hair color? My age? Listen, young-mom-with-one-toddler, you will quickly realize that no one picks up a couple of extra kids just to hit the market at five in the afternoon.
“Wow… Oh my…”
…It’s not a show. They’re just being kids, Ms. Employee-of-the-month.
And then there are all the gawkers. They don’t say anything, they just stare.
…Did someone leave the house without pants again?
And to be fair, there are plenty of “how cute” comments, but they are brief and in passing. I wonder what it’s like for my friends that REALLY have a lot of kids, like six or nine.
In reality, I smile and say “Sure do!” or “Yes ma’am!” or something polite like that because I am trying to find the oatmeal in the baking aisle and one of my kids is filling my cart with chocolate chips. But sometimes, if I’m lucky, I will be stopped by someone who will say something to me like this:
“They are precious. Enjoy this time.”
“You are so blessed.”
“They grow up so fast. I’m so glad they are all with you.”
“You are brave.”
And my filters really do drop. As in, the filter that tells me not to shed a tear in public. Because nine times out of ten, these people are walking with a cane and filling prescriptions. They are the ones who have lived long enough to see the beauty in this picture. They are the ones who long for family and for noise and messy faces.
I always stop and talk to them. My kids talk to them. One of my boys will inevitably ask something embarrassing (why is your skin so wrinkly?) or I end up having to excuse myself to chase another down the aisle. They don’t mind. These people know that they are becoming increasingly dependent on someone else. And they smile because my children are a brief and loud reminder that someone they love once depended on them.