“Pay no attention to the seemingly crazy lady with tears and sniffles bagging groceries.
Clearly, I was not mentally prepared to grocery shop this morning. Something wasn’t right. The drive was short and quiet. I quickly got out of my car with everything I needed. I had a list and could stay focused enough to actually follow it. Really it was an Aldi shopping success…. until I reached the bagging counter.
As I was efficiently organizing each reusable bag, my attention was drawn down the counter at cart after cart with a mother and a child. One child was sleeping, while another was already eating snacks from the store leaving most on the floor and in the cart. One mom was talking about where they were going next. It was taking them all a long time. They had helpers- their partners.
That’s when it struck me, why I was so off- so uncharacteristically organized, efficient, quiet, even lonely. For the first time in 9 years, I was missing my partner, my little helper.
I didn’t have any extra items in my cart. Nothing was opened to appease a hungry kid. I didn’t say no or not this time even once… cue the tears.
Oh my God! I am crying in Aldi’s!!! Don’t think about how embarrassing this is! Or that people are starting to look! Please judgey cashier keep walking past! Screw these bags! Throw everything in the cart and get to the van!!! The big EMPTY van! None of this helped. Not one bit!
Once outside, my sunglasses gave me a feeling of invisibility, enough so to finish the task and stop the stream of tears.
My kids are happy and healthy and enjoying school. I know this- a good portion of my life has involved never having a moment to myself and the flood of these all alone moments was just too much today. I used to sneak to the store at 1am when I needed alone time. I cherished when I would drive to work and could listen to the songs I wanted on the radio or even have complete silence. Now it’s here and it’s really hard you guys.
I promise to not tell one mother with their littles to enjoy every moment, it won’t last. It won’t last. We ALL know this. It just isn’t helpful. No matter how many people would tell that to me (and it always seemed to happen during a meltdown) it did not make me enjoy my children’s shrieks any more. What I do realize is that with the gift of time, this is a rite of passage that every mother will have. Maybe not every mom cries in Aldi’s, that can be my claim to fame folks, but we all will experience the empty backseat and quiet drives… the loneliness that happens when you don’t have the little voice in back asking 100 questions and singing Daddy Finger for the 100th time that morning.
I am confident in my ability to adjust- maybe complete a few house projects, pamper myself a bit, work uninterrupted, get caught up on laundry, and wear pants with buttons… okay the last two may be pushing it.
Here’s to the next chapter… the mom of school aged kids. I salute those that have come before me and will have a Kleenex for those that come after.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Maggie Harr M.S.ED. in Adult and Higher Education Special Education Teacher, Registered Nurse, Parent Mentor, Public Education/Dyslexia Advocate, and mother to a child with Dyslexia. Do you have a similar experience? Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more stories from Maggie here:
‘I’m a teacher. I’m his mother. How did I not know?’ I saw him crying at his desk.’: Mom shocked to learn her son is ‘profoundly dyslexic,’ urges other parents to ‘trust your instincts’
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