Monday, May 12, 2008


I ran some errands on Friday, getting ready for the big weekend. One stop was the grocery store. I made my selections then loaded them into the car. As I crawled into my drivers seat throne I suddenly heard something. Or rather, I realized what I hadn't heard.


I made the whole journey through the grocery store without saying a word. You know, besides the 'no thanks' when the check out girl asked if I wanted cash back, and 'my own please' when the bagger asked which bags he should use.

Besides those five words, my vocal chords had been silent through the whole visit.

Sure I noticed every mommy with a baby in the cart. I always do. I love their round cheeks (the baby's, not the mom's.) I love seeing the variety of hair colors and body sizes they come in. I can almost physically sense the relief the mommies with sleeping babies feel as they have time to pick out the best deal on green beans or ham hocks. And I am always aware that my trip is much more efficient because there are no padded bottoms in the seat of my grocery cart. Only French bread and apples.

But when I got to my van and realized I had navigated the whole store and hardly uttered a word, I was just a bit sad.

In so many past years and so many hundreds of shopping trips I was in constant conversation.

"Here we are, pumpkin. Let's get you hooked in the seat. Okay, here we go. Let's go look at the bananas first. See these bananas? They are really yellow, aren't they? How many should we get today?...."

And on and on it went. Through the whole grocery store. Past the old ladies who stopped us and cooed, asking questions about ages and siblings. Past the lobster tank where it was basic store requirements to stop and tap the glass. Past the bakery where smiling ladies in funny hats freely handed out cookie samples.

Even moments when my darling fell asleep, it was never a guarantee of quiet. It was a borrowed quiet. Ready to be broken at any minute. I rarely made it through three aisles before little feet started to twitch and tiny fists rubbed squinty eyes back awake. And the dialog began again.

How quickly those chatty grocery store years flew by. Even with a preschooler, going to the grocery store was so much more than a trip to buy food. There were shapes and colors to talk about. There were holiday decorations to ooh and ahh over. There were new cracker and cereal shapes to discuss. It was never just about the items in the cart.

But now they are all gone. Off in school, becoming brilliant minds and caring friends. They are studying other languages and learning how bees make that honey we put on our toast. And mommy is on her own.

Left to bring home the bacon in silence.

I miss our chats, my sweet babies. I miss your precious little voices.

Now put down that remote and come help me haul in these groceries.

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