On Wednesdays I work (half a day) from home, and take care of Mia. It’s the hardest day of the week. By far. Also the nicest, because, you know, babies. But also because I almost never have to put on actual pants.
This morning by 11am I had already been awake for 6 hours, cleaned up two water bottles dumped on surfaces not meant to accommodate water, prepared a meal and snack that both went completely untouched, swept up the remains of a beloved (and now smashed) ceramic piggy bank, changed 4 diapers, refolded 2 closet shelves worth of clothes that were thrown across the bedroom, changed the dolly’s outfit twice, managed 2 hours of work, and picked up the contents of the recycling bin 1,472 times.
All this before coffee.
Four hours later, only 58 minutes of which Mia spent napping, we were bathed, dressed (if you call yoga pants dressed) and on our way to the grocery store to figure out what kind of pre-made meal we could buy and pass off as homemade.
In the salad dressing aisle, we ran into an older woman, who I could just tell from two aisles away was going to want to stop and talk to Mia. She did.
She politely engaged her (without getting all up in her face), and managed to elicit a smile. I grabbed some honey mustard and nodded at the woman, encouraging Mia to say “bye bye” before I had to listen to the cursory 2 minute spiel about fast times goes, and how much I’ll miss this, and how these years are the best years.
It stopped me in my tracks.
I didn’t know how to respond, but I wanted to hug her.
So, thank you, woman in the salad dressing aisle, for being honest. For being real. For knowing that as cute as they are and as wonderful as they can be, toddlers are really, really hard.
Thank you for admitting you wouldn’t go back. And thank you for giving me hope that even people who don’t love every minute of raising their kids can still turn out to be gentle, lovely, unassuming grandparents in the grocery aisle who enjoy a moment of reminiscing. And who still have enough tact and memory left to make a new moms day.