I hadn’t noticed any of the people around us in the grocery store aisles on a late Saturday morning, other than obstacles to dodge on a hurried race through the store. There’s nothing worse, it seems sometimes, than grocery shopping on a weekend and I wanted out before the chaos really got started.
She, though, saw each and everyone.
“Hiiiiiiiiiii,” I heard her saying and when I looked she was waving at a stranger, an enormous smile on her face as if she’d just found a long-lost friend.
We were in the pasta aisle when she passed us, moving slowly with a strange, exaggerated limp that made each step look risky. The baby – only she’s a toddler now – smiled again and the woman smiled back, asking questions that the toddler couldn’t answer.
“Enjoy every minute, Mom,” she told me when she had made her tortured way almost past. “Even the bad ones. Enjoy them all.”
And I remembered:
I remember saying those same words at a baby shower; listening to new mothers complain of exhaustion, long nights, and thinking they didn’t know how much they had; rocking her at 3 a.m. and thinking, again, how grateful I was to be tired.
You’re not tired when there’s no baby.
And the minutes can be long and the floor stayed clean for 20 minutes today before she threw her gravy-covered potato on it and there are cups and books strewn around the floor at any time and she’s 14 months old now and I was still up with her twice last night and sometimes it is so loud with her whining to be picked up.
But I always remember when my house stayed clean and when I wrote uninterrupted. And I’m loving every one of these minutes that pass so quickly.
And I wonder about the woman in the pasta aisle, who she was missing that Saturday morning.