Last week I ran into the store, two kids in tow looking for cat food. We found a bag and went to the till. Both kids were restless, it was afternoon and they wanted to get home and have a snack. My little guy was particularly rambunctious – touching everything he could in the time it took me to run my debit card through the machine. The cashier looked at me with amusement as I corrected him over, and over and over.
Today I found myself on the hamster wheel again. Two kids in tow, this time we were on a mission for dog food. Same store. Same cashier. Same children who were itching to get on with things. Nathan had skipped his afternoon nap as three year olds are apt to do. We were running on borrowed time and he was ramping up before the inevitable crash. Hannah was giddy with after school freedom and laughing at his antics. I wore an expression of frustration and maybe even exasperation. I won’t lie; it would be nice to buy something without wrangling two feisty beings at the same time. To just buy something without the “don’t touch that, stand here with me, hold my hand, that’s dirty, you can say hi to that man, why are you screaming?’ rhetoric that usually goes along with a trip to the store. The cashier no longer looked amused at my situation. No, today her face wore an expression of pity that was plain as the nose it surrounded.
I would have taken empathy or apathy or the previously offered amusement. She could have laughed at me because I get it; sometimes as a mom all we can do is laugh at our situation. It can be funny if you look for the humour.
I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me.
I’m not sorry that I have these babies.
I’m not sorry that I will spend my life teaching them the best way to behave in society.
I’m not sorry that teaching these things is draining and hard; all important things are hard.
I’m not sorry they defy me. Defiance is paramount to learning.
I’m not sorry they continue to push me because it helps me to learn too.
I’m not sorry that Hannah ripped the bag of dog food open as she tossed it into the car. She was trying her best to help me.
I’m not sorry that Nathan spilled kibbles all over the floor as he filled up the dog’s dish. He knew it was his job to clean them up and did so without prompting.
I’m not sorry they complained about the leftovers for dinner because they both ate it the first go round without complaints – even though it was full of eggplant and zucchini.
I’m not sorry they squabbled for every moment between dinner and bedtime because they love each other enough to set it aside for bedtime hugs.
I’m not sorry I still have to sing to them before they’ll go to sleep.
I’m not sorry to read them stories either.
I’m not sorry to hear them say “I love you mommy,” because they are free to say whatever they wish and these are the words they choose.
So, don’t pity me, my dear cashier. Your time with them is so fleeting. Your impression of them is so shallow. You couldn’t possibly know the depth of their souls like I do. You don’t know the intelligence and wonder and heart these babies posses. You won’t ever be the most important person in their lives and for this, I pity you.