Thursday, August 2, 2012

Just Us

"I grow-een up?" you ask.  I look down and lose myself, again, in your beautiful face.  The early morning sunlight filters through the trees and lands gently across your creamy skin.  Highlights the twelve freckles dancing over your nose.  Catches in the mass of untamed red curls that sits atop your head.  Saturates the blues in your eyes to that unnatural depth.  Those eyes, locked into mine, sit beneath your soft eyebrows which almost imperceptibly begin to knot together.  Your head begins to cock to one side and I remember.  You asked me a question.

"Yep.  You sure are." I answer.  I throw one last wave around the corner as the big yellow school bus mercilessly accelerates and carries away my other children.  Boy do I miss them while they're gone.  I subconsciously squeeze your hand as we cross the street to our home.  "An... after I grow-een up, den I can ride onna busss?"

"Yes," I reply.  "But don't forget being little is fun, too."

We enter the house and clean up breakfast together.  I try not to cringe at the clatter of spoons and bowls being thrown into the sink.  Then I listen to you play with your trains while I make a grocery list.  Only when I'm all ready to go do I ask if you'd like to go to the little cart store today.  Your imaginary world of tracks and trains dissolves in an instant and you jump to your feet with an excited clap of your hands.  "We go-een to da liddle cart store!?"  After my nod of affirmation, you sprint to the shoe basket and have your cameo crocks on impressively fast.

We get stopped twice in the parking lot, before we even make it into the store.  It's because I chose to go to Kroger on a Tuesday morning; the same morning senior citizens get a discount.  I did it on purpose.  I've found that we have much more fun (as long as we're not in a hurry) when we shop with them.  I've already decided that I will be a talkative, friendly old woman.

"Oh, I bet you just hate to cut that hair," the first lady comments.  She's leaning up against the passenger side of her car, using the open door as support as her daughter loads her groceries into the trunk.  We talk for only a minute.  And she ends the conversation with, "Well, maybe the Good Lord will bless you with a curly, red-headed girl so you can watch those curls just grow and grow."  Ten paces later we pass a younger lady, maybe 65, who loudly exclaims, "Oh my!  And I thought I had a curly red-head!"  Her hand instinctively reaches out to tousle your hair as she tells me about her own, grown, curly red-headed daughter.  It's small, but it bonds my heart to hers for a minute.

You're always patient with these stops.  They're just part of your life.

I smile when you see the little carts.  Week after week, your excitement seems to grow.  "Dere it is!" you sing.  You try to suppress a smile as you start pushing it along behind me.  But I see it.  We carefully load the produce in the front of your cart and I remind you that we need to be careful not to drop our other groceries on top of the peaches, bananas and tomatoes.  We walk down each aisle and I point to the items we need.

1 of those, Miles...  5 of these...  Can you grab 2 for me?  You obey each instruction with pride and participate in one of the following conversations at least once every aisle:

Conversation A:
Oh!  We need some-ah dis?
Nope.  We don't need any of that.
Oh.  We already have some-ah dis?
No.  We just don't need any.

Conversation B:
Oh!  We need some-ah dis?
Nope.  We don't need any of that.
Oh. We already have some-ah dis?
Yep.  We have some at our home.
Oh!  I can have some when we get home?!

We always do the self-checkout.  Regardless of how many registers are open, or how many items we have.  You love it too much.  I pull each item out of your cart and you scan it and put it in the bag.  You're good at finding the bar codes.

Costco is next.  We eat samples and brace ourselves before we enter the fridge to get our lettuce and milk.  We practice shooting our sample cups into the trash cans and pause to sit on the furniture.  We tell the cashier to put two hot dog meals onto our receipt, and we sit on the picnic tables to eat them.

You happily help me carry our groceries inside the house.  This time you grab the strawberries and cheese in the same trip.  You make sure to point out how strong you are as we pass each other.  I make sure to agree.  When I come in with my load, you're standing in front of the kitchen island, still holding the strawberries and cheese, unable to get them up without a little help.  I take the strawberries, and you lift the cheese up to the counter with two hands. 

Nap time is next, and soon the big kids will be home.  Soon after that, you'll be getting on the bus yourself, and these days will become just a memory.

But that day is not today.  Today, you're my little one.  My buddy.  My constant companion and greatest source of laughter.  I know you're anxious to grow up.  In your terms, riding a bus is almost unbeatable in terms of awesome things to do.  But in my terms, having you with me all day - every day...

... that is what's unbeatable.


  1. hey how come we wrote about the same thing yesterday grocery shopping with our special sons, but your post is so much sweeter :)

  2. This is the sweetest post ever.

    And I still love his "yay." :)

  3. I just love this Linds.