That grocery cart, right up there, is the best. It fits both my six year old daughter, Pancake and her three year old brother, Mac. They get strapped in together, all in one place. No touching and grabbing stuff. No wandering aimlessly. No walking into other people's carts (BAM!) while not paying attention. No asking for things. Or asking again after I say no. No sharing the main basket, sitting on the bread and/or eggs as they fidget for comfort. They are strapped in and shushed. I can relax and get my grocery shop on.
It's their own little world. Pretending to drive and be all race car crazy. They make vroom vroom and beep beep noises. They have no need for me. I occasionally take a quick left and say "Watch out now! Crazy driver!!" or I turn in a circle and say, "We going the wrong way kids, hold on!!" It's awesome incorporated, that cart right there :)
The only draw back is time. Eventually they get really, really rowdy. And loud. Because monumental kid energy can only be strapped in for so long.
So there I was, unloading the grocery goods on lane five. Three friendly teenagers were manning the station. My kids were getting very loud and starting rocking the cart back and forth. My threats of time outs were useless and really, beating the kids is not an option. Us being in public and all.
Jebus, simmer down. I was just kidding. I don't beat my kids. Well only on Sundays ..ok jeez just kidding!
Anywho. I wasn't that upset about my kids being loud and crazy. I was too distracted by the teenagers. Three of them. One boy was the cashier, then another boy and a girl were bagging our bounty. They were so young and smiley. No attitude, no texting. Just clean kids doing their job and doing it well.
I couldn't help myself, I just kept staring at the boy cashier. All young and clean. Face so smooth. He was properly skinny and hair all messy. He wore his bangs long like the kids do these days.
Kids still rocking the cart, me getting frustrated because I can't stop them. Me staring. Then I blurted out, "Hey, how old are you?"
"15", he said with a customer service smile.
Then I morphed into an old lady when I said, (and I swear to God I never say things like this, but it was unstoppable so up it came,)
"You have no idea how uncomplicated your life is. Enjoy the simplicity of being 15, of being a kid, cause when you grow up it gets a lot more complicated." And I gestured to my kids who were full on apey at this point. I was smiling and happy. It was a moment of pure comedy.
He smiled and said, "Looks like it!" He smiled a little more. The other teenagers came up towards the cart. They sort of distracted the wiley bunch while I finished my purchases. They used all manner of teenage trickery, sticking out their tongue and playing peek a boo.
We all exchanged looks, exchanged smiles. Real smiles. It was very cool this moment. The teenagers were seeing my kids in a whole different light then I was. It was a moment of wonder for them. Random cute kids in the cart. Random Mom calling them young'uns.
It was all very soothing for me, being around the teenagers. I could tell they were friends, went to the same school. I could tell they were good kids, probably got good grades and were hard workers. I could tell they were happy.
My hope of all hopes is that I can say the same for my kids, when they are teenagers. And when they get that part time job, bagging groceries or working retail, I hope they are like those teenagers.
This is my biggest dream for my kids. I want them to know what happy and wonder really is. And that it doesn't stop when you grow up. I want them to know that awesome is everywhere, they just have to look. I want them to feel the simple joy of being who they are, of living in this wonderful world.
Mommy loves you Pancake and Mac. Thank you for being my kids. You're the best kids a mommy could ever hope for. sniff sniff . . . :)
"After the Bath" by Mary Cassatt
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