“Ok, we can go to Sobey’s and use the kid-carts,” I answered to their chorused protests of needing to go to the grocery store. I could afford the extra time if it meant a smoother trip.
On a wintery, blowing Sunday morning, I hustled them into the car trying to remember how much they had to weigh so I could forever be done with a damn five-point harness. I listed off to them three things each they had to remember, making sure they were equally numbered items. I hoped it would keep them focused instead of tiny crazed shoppers who had never experienced the outside world.
They each pulled a cart out after I successfully navigated them through the parking lot without getting hit. I am anxious to get this over with, they pause to hug and kiss the M&M peanut offering his dazzling confectionary. We navigate through the produce aisles and head to the milk.
It’s a straight through way in which their wild instincts demand they clatter their carts the full length to the milk fridge.
“Girls,” I hiss between gritted teeth and barely parted lips. I too call their attention this way; referring to them as a whole, each their own half, inseparable – “girls.”
“Watch where you are going.”
They nearly clipped the heels of a new mother with her baby still in a bucket, and hung in the crook of her arm. She had two other things in her hand and a few items piled in the bucket with the baby. The baby’s, beautiful, happy, cherub face was trying to see what all the commotion was about. I offered the baby and the mom a broad smile. And then I said it.
“Won’t be long.” I sputtered glaring at my children.
She’d have beaten me with her baby’s Sophie giraffe if she’d had the strength or a free hand.
I gasped in an attempt to shove the words back into my mouth. I grabbed the milk and hurried my girls into one of the aisles in complete embarrassment and with a shocking realization that I have moved on to the next stage without even noticing.
I am no longer a new mother.
I have become the mother that offered me the overwhelming advice while they grew in my belly. I have become the mother that knows how to hold a newborn, to say “oh don’t worry about that it’s just a rash” or “this bum cream, use this one.” Somehow, I have gotten to a point where I kind of (loosely) know shit, like a real grown up mother with boundaries and lipstick.
I have become the mother who understands the language of mothering. I am becoming the mother that marvels at the miracles of time and its perception. I am becoming the grocery store lady.