Dear Man Who Let Me Cut in Line at Target,
I know how I looked when we met–cart-to-basket–at the empty register. Make-up remains, yesterday’s curls, and a far away glaze over my eyes. And you? You had the right of way. You spotted the cashier first, and got there several strides before I did. So the gallant way you insisted I go first because I had two kids with me tells me two things. 1) You’re a nice person. A gentleman, really. 2) I looked as frazzled as I suspected. Or as frazzled as I would’ve suspected if I’d had enough energy to acknowledge it.
Thank you for humoring my daughters while I unloaded my cart. My sweet offspring, who for some reason interperated my silence as the go-ahead to treat you as their biographer. All they had to say was, “thank you.” But instead you got everything else. I trust you will guard their names, birth dates, and Christmas lists with your life. I feel like I should also mention that my kids don’t usually spill their guts to strangers, and on the rare occasions that they do, I stop them. However, it was one of those days when I was so grateful that they stopped whining over every single purchase denial, and questioning the fairness of God when I would neither buy them the new heels they wanted, nor “pay them back” for them when we got home, that I was willing to let you deflect their attention.
And while it was really nice of you to compliment them on their outfits, I have to hope that you were only kidding when you added that they must have looked that good because of their mother’s “great sense of style.” Please tell me you knew they dressed themselves. I count on that in other adults when beholding their choices on a regular basis, otherwise I could never support their dressing endeavors. So I hope you can understand why I need you to acknowledge that I had nothing to do with those heels, athletic socks, and cargo capris. And yes, I’ll admit to being involved with the tutu skirt and polka-dot leggings combination on the other child, but it was only because we were heading into day six of getting dressed by digging through laundry baskets and that was all that was left that was clean. I think. (I hope.)
The fact is, I’m just not getting enough sleep to function properly. The fact is, I’m up several times a night again. The fact is, it’s all my fault. It was a moment of weakness, a slight co-dependance mishap. Like I had too much energy and love and needed something small to lavish it upon. So in a sense, I deserve to be feeling like I just brought home another newborn. Because otherwise why would I have done this?
Why? Why? Why? I’m back on a sleep schedule. I’m wearing winter boots all day long because his teeth are so sharp that I’m bleeding before I feel any pain. And even though we were told he was a beagle-mix who wouldn’t get much bigger than 35lbs, people are starting to suggest that he’s a pit. And the vet said he’ll probably get to be 50-60 lbs. Which would’ve been fine, had we wanted to adopt a Big Pit and not a Small Not-Pit. Plus my girls are so fascinated with his anatomy (and the opportunity to address it constantly) that this puppy is going to wind up thinking his name is “Penis.” (Which is, I suppose, an improvement from their original name suggestions of Boobs/Hoopfers/Titties.) I’ve actually had to say, in public, “Please don’t poke the puppy’s penis!” But you know this already.
Which is why, when I said “good-bye” and you replied with, “From what I can see, you’re doing a really great job,” I almost cried. And instead of being able to just say, “thank you,” I also said “I just want to go back to sleep.” I hope you were able to recognize that the comment was not at all suggestive; I’m just tired. And for that one, small moment I felt understood. And safe.
So here are my guts, spilled out before you on the Target floor.
All I needed to say was “thank you.”
But instead, you got everything else.
©2012 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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