……Dear Empty Nester Me
What the hell were you thinking?
You went to the grocery store at 11AM on a Tuesday?! Seriously?!
Have you lost your aging mind?
You should have known what would happen! You should have predicted it.
But, no. You just had to get out there to buy those red peppers, didn’t you? In the middle of the week. When all the young Mommies are out there with their adorable little ones in their arms.
You should have predicted what would happen.
There you were, buying your soy milk and chia seeds. Your recycled toilet paper and your organic kale.
Not a juice box or a fruit roll up in sight.
And along came the very people who are supposed to shop in the middle of a sunny Tuesday. A pretty young Mom, her three or four year old daughter walking beside the carriage, and the sweet little toddler with the golden curls. The one who sat in the grocery cart seat, his chubby hands fixed on the bar in front of him. The little guy who looked up at you with those perfect sky blue eyes. Who responded to your smile with a frown of his golden brows and a pout of his sweet little boy mouth.
You felt your heart thump and swell, but what did you expect?
You thought that you were doing just fine when you tried to walk away from the little boy. You thought you were moving on, thinking about the coffee beans and the allergy meds.
But then you came around the corner, down the frozen food aisle. And there was the young Mom, with her daughter holding onto her leg, the baby in her arms. You tried to just walk by, but then you saw the little guy leaning out of her arms, reaching for the floor. You saw his cheeks, red with frustration, and you heard that little voice say with near desperation, “Down! Down, Momma, Down!”
And there you were, twenty years ago, in this same spot, with your own little boy demanding his freedom. You felt the sadness sweep up and around you, holding you close once again. You wanted to talk to that young woman, but you bit your lip and moved away.
You wanted to tell her, “Whatever you do, don’t put him down! Hold him, as tight as you can. Never let him go.”
Note to self: always shop on Saturdays, when all the old people are in the store, and there are no beautiful babies to break your heart.
13 thoughts on “Note to self….”
Oh my gosh….I feel EXACTLY the same way! How could I possibly envy that young mom with the child having a total melt down; but I do. Thank you once again for making me feel normal (either that or we are both crazy!). Love your blog; keep it up!!
Hi, Karen!!! Thank you! I could NOT believe, after all this time, that the sound of that little demanding voice would bring me to tears, but it did.
No one prepares us for how hard its going to be to stop being Mommy!!
So happy to know that you are reading these things!
My nest is empty too due to the fact that I haven’t had a child yet. But I still take good care of the grocery timing because nothing can stop the empty feeling over the nest after you see the toddlers around the proud Mommies. Even if they are screaming. 🙂 thank you for sharing that this will not change. It should be good like this.
Next time, go when the kids are screaming.
I am officially pathetic.
Even the screaming makes me nostalgic.
Better just make a second note to pick up extra ice cream then.
I hear it helps.
How quickly we can be brought back in time only to sigh and know those days are over. Lovely post.
I really surprised myself with my reaction. Every time I think that I have gotten over the pain of letting my babies go……
Great post. I agree with the person who said to go when the kids are screaming!
But I’d still miss those screaming moments……
Not that I loved them while they were happening, mind you!
Hang on, grandchildren are coming.
Hope tonight’s baseball is like last night’s…
I am so with you on this one. I smile and make faces at the little ones sitting in their carts while their mothers’ backs are turned at the deli. When they start fussing, and their moms are getting irritated, I want to ask if I can hold the little one while she shops. One of these days I just may do it and get banned from the grocery store. And my baby is 11! What will become of me when they’re gone and I’m an empty-nester? I shudder to think of the thought, although I have heard there is a volunteer position called a “cuddler” at the hospitals where you spend hours holding babies 🙂
Oh, my God, I have heard of “cuddlers”, too! I just need the position to come with a salary and benefits, then I’m so IN!