Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Grocery Store Clerk

Today after I picked the boys up at daycare we went to the grocery store. Braydon and I spent years perfecting our division of labor, and at this point it is pretty much set-in-stone. I do all things food related (planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, etc.), and he does all things cleaning related (managing all house cleaning, doing all laundry, kitty litter, etc.). Given my realm of responsibility, I do about 99.9% of the grocery shopping. And the vast majority of the time I have one or both of the boys with me when I'm doing it (usually both). Our grocery store experiences are always interesting... to say the least. You wouldn't think that something as mundane as grocery shopping would be as downright interesting as it is. But seriously, every single grocery shopping experience produces some story to tell Braydon at dinner later that night.

Sometimes the stories center on how really really bad the boys were -- like the time I gave them a package of goldfish to keep them quiet in the cart and in a split second, when I turned to reach for a package of chicken on the shelf, they poured the goldfish all over the meat section floor, on purpose. Sometimes the stories center on how magnetically, arrestingly, captivatingly adorable the boys were -- like the time they were entranced in their own little world, completely unaware of the attention they were garnering, as they were singing their hearts out "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine" throughout every isle of the entire store. Sometimes the stories center on some hard-to-handle question some other shopper asked -- like the time a lady asked me (quite loudly in front of the boys and several other shoppers), "So, was their real mother on drugs?" Sometimes the stories center on the stares we got, or the smiles we get, or the weird comments, or the nice comments. Sometimes, in fact, the stories tell of some of the deeply profound things that occur when I'm out in public with my special bambinos. Sometimes the stories are probably quite the same as many other parents' stories of their grocery store escapades with their toddlers in tow. Today's story is this:

The boys were so good in the grocery store today. It was actually -- believe it or not! -- downright delightful to go grocery shopping with the two of them. The store was busy with the after-work-crowd, and the lines at the registers were long, and everybody seemed frazzled except for Kyle and Owen. For whatever reason, today they just took it all in stride and were good-as-could-be and cute-as-buttons the entire time. To be honest, I was shocked. I had checked out, had everything in bags, had paid, and I was about to push the cart away from the register. The grocery store clerk -- a mid-20s looking woman -- stopped me. She said, pretty loudly, "Ma'am?!" I thought I had forgotten something and I abruptly stopped my cart and turned back toward her. She said, "I'm sorry, I know it is busy, but I just have to tell you something." Everyone all around was looking at me. I felt myself flush, in nervous anticipation of whatever she was about to say to me. I said, "O.k.?" And she said: "I just have to tell you that I work here all the time, and whenever I see you here I just want to tell you that I think your kids are the absolute cutest kids that come in here -- of everyone I see, I think they are the cutest." Many eyes were on me, just waiting to see how I'd react. I didn't quite know how to react. I said, "Wow?! Thank you. Especially because I know you must see a lot of kids." "I do," she said, "I see a lot of kids." "Wow, thank you," I said. And I sincerely meant it. And then we made our way to the parking lot.

No comments: