Today, I had to run into the grocery store to grab a few things on my way home. Shopping all by myself (which feels like a mini vacay), I adeptly slid from one area to the next, quickly, quietly, gently placing each item in my cart. I even had the time to read labels, to compare the ingredient list on my much needed coconut milk. I finished up in mere minutes, payed for my food, and headed towards the doors. Then I saw her. A new mama in all of her glow-y glory. She walked slowly, gazed fixed on her beautiful baby, a smile gently strewn across her lips. We briefly made eye contact, her smile remained, and then the moment was gone. I continued on my way to my van, she continued into the store. I was flooded with memories, and three distinct thoughts.
1) I remember that feeling. That "I can't take my eyes off you" feeling. That dreamlike state where I was filled with more love than I ever knew could possibly exist. ( I still feel it now, although it is most pronounced when I look at them as they sleep.)
2) I miss that feeling. But, not enough to want another baby.
3) Oh-ma-gawd, when I walk into a store with my kids now, we look like a clusterfuck of hot-messy-ness.
There is always a whole series of rules to go over before we head in. An agonizing list of what we do, and don't do in a grocery store, a reminder not to ask for every single thing they lay their eyes on. I could easily conjure a picture of us entering the store. Me trying to wrangle two kids by holding the collars of their shirts, dragging two kids behind me who are clinging onto my ankles like their lives depended on it. Even though it is not what is happening in reality, it is exactly what it feels like to me. I always have at least one kid who can't stop telling me how much they don't want to be in the store. I always try to let them know that while I understand, I am required by law to feed them, and that I don't want to be there anymore than they do. I also always have at least one kid trying to run, to grab anything, to grab everything, to get it in the cart before I realize it. These trips are always entertaining, to say the least. I know that one day, I will miss the lunacy. So I smile, I reminisce, I allow myself just a minute of jealousy, and then I return to feeling so incredibly happy for the loud, for the love, for the crazy, for the quiet, for it all.