The kids are in bed,
Mom is out of town

I was at the grocery

I was at the grocery store today, with the troops. I try to work it out so I can shop without the boys, but that wasn’t possible today. I was completely out of duct tape, so I ended up taking them.
Anyhow, we survived the gathering portion of the shopping trip and had moved onto the purchasing. This is always fun. The boys are tired of being in the store, free cookies have lost their charm, and I’m exhausted.
Tre was moving back and forth between the wall-o-junk (vending machines) and me, trying to convince me that I should let him spend his dollar on something he didn’t need. Max was inexplicably dashing back and forth between me and the aisle on the other side of me, seeming to dodge invisible beings. Large and dangerous invisible beings, by the looks of it. Raphael was charming the checker. Checkers love Raphael, which I believe to be evidence of how badly checkers are usually treated. He smiles at them and says hi and bats his eyelashes. All this is done to convince them to a) let him hand them the groceries to scan and b) give him a sticker. It almost always works, except with the very hardest of hearts. Our checker that day was no exception, and she cooed and exclaimed over Raphael and took twice as long to ring up our groceries as usual. She had to wait for him to hand her everything, you see.
So there I was, keeping a nervous eye on Raphael, turning one way to tell Tre “no” yet again, turning the other way to caution Max to watch out for other shoppers, and generally musing to myself that if I have to shop at midnight to go without the kids, it’s worth it. I glanced over at the next line and a little girl caught my eye. She looked about two, and she was sitting in the cart so calmly. She was watching us and when I looked at her she smiled widely and waved. I waved back, and then glanced at the mom. I’d been avoiding eye contact with this woman, because she was in the middle of a scene with store management. It seems her credit card had been denied. She had been standing there, with two carts full of groceries, angrily insisting, “But he SAID I could use his card! He SAID it was ok! CALL him! ASK him! He SAID!”
I had been looking elsewhere, both because I had so very many other places to focus on, and because the scene was so uncomfortable. But one doesn’t wave at another’s child without a friendly nod to the mother. That’s creepy. So I smiled at the woman, who looked startled. “Is she bugging you?” she asked.
“Oh, no! She was waving. What a cutie she is.”
The woman nodded. “Yeah, she’s real friendly. And she loves boys.”
“Oh, really? Do you have any sons?”
“Nope, just two girls. This one just lights up whenever she sees a boy.” She reached over and brushed the girl’s hair back. Looking into her daughter’s face she continued, “Just looooves the boys, don’t ya, baby?” She looked up at me and laughed, “I just know she’s gonna be some kind of a slut when she grows up.”
I was still trying to think of some response to that when another manager came up for his turn to be screamed at. I watched this woman wave a credit card in his face and wondered. What did her mom decide was to be her future when she was a bright eyed baby?
I paid for the groceries and gathered the boys to leave. As we walked away from the checkout stand, the checker waved to Raphael (who had scored three stickers off her). He waved back, and she blew him a kiss. He accepted it with a regal nod and replied, “Oh sank you.” Max charged along on one side of me, still dodging the invisible beings, and on the other side Tre was imagining aloud what life would be like if you didn’t have to pay for anything.
I just know they’re all going to be something when they grow up.


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