Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ABC Love

We are walking home from school, and I wish for the zillionth time that I possessed octopus arms. Why Muffin’s school bedding, 7 paintings (“No, Mommy, we can’t put it in your purse – it will get bent!”), and a recycled items sculpture all need to go home on the same day is beyond me but they always do. Muffin’s hands are occupied with a tiny pack of gummy bears, a souvenir from a classmate’s trip to Germany. Although I’ve never been there, I silently salute Deutshland for sponsoring this whine-free walk home.

We pop into the bodega to pick out a few items for dinner. I forget to grab a basket on the way in, so since I cannot spare the seven seconds it would take to go back, I start balancing groceries awkwardly in the crook of my elbow. Muffin is, as normal, ignoring my pleas to stick close, so I scan the aisles for her as I look for the items I need. My arms begin to ache, I’m fuzzy on the five ingredients I need (but I know there are five!), and I’m not entirely sure where my child is. I fantasize that I am not pregnant and can have a nerve-settling glass of wine when I get home.

Finally we rendezvous at the front of the store, and get in “line.” I use quotes because there’s no actual check-out line, people just wait uncertainly in the narrow aisles, right in the path of shoppers. Muffin and I get close to the register. I choose this moment to lose my grip on the pile of artwork, and it flutters to the ground in every direction. The other customers are treated to the balletic display of a pregnant woman attempting to bend at the waist gracefully while simultaneously holding canned goods and explaining why 3-year-olds may not have gum. I’m sorry to say there is grunting.

I force myself to smile and notice Muffin has polished off the gummy bears. Hoping to lighten my mood, I fall back on the same gag the Canuck and I have been doing forever: wait until she’s done, and then lay on the guilt.

“Hey, you didn’t even save any for me? But I looooove gummy bears.”

I realize she is not technically finished when, to my surprise, she pulls a shiny, headless bear from her mouth. Her eyes are solemn as she holds it out for me. She’s not calling my bluff, she’s giving me her last precious (partially chewed) gummy bear. I could not have been more touched if she'd offered a kidney.

I am the epitome of every frazzled working mom cliche in the world, but man, is she so way worth it. I am at the front of the line now, with people tapping their feet behind me, but I bend down to give her a long squeeze.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys raised such a generous soul! Love all the new essays. -y

12:43 PM  
OpenID anywherebutacubicle.com said...

That's SO sweet! I can picture her doing it, too.

You may feel like the prototypical frazzled mom, but you always look like a million bucks!

5:02 AM  
Blogger K Dubya said...

Muffin is such a love. (i will remember this story when she offers me a gummy bear... ;)

great telling of a really poignant moment!

10:14 PM  
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