I stood at the Target check out line as the cashier rang up my items. I looked down at my watch and sighed, “Man that went fast, it’s already been an hour and a half. Is it really almost time for me to go home?”
The cashier kept scanning my items, and eventually she looked up at me, our eyes met. “From the looks of things you must be a busy woman,” she smirked as she placed my hemorrhoid cream into the plastic bag, followed by a box of newborn diapers, a package of Paw Patrol big girl panties, and sippy cups. Oh, and a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
“Yep, I’m busy,” I replied.
“Busy and tired,” I thought to myself.
I looked over at the woman in the check out lane next to me, peering into her cart. Honestly, looking into a woman’s shopping cart is a lot like looking into her soul. Amongst her various items from The Dollar Section, she had a few magazines, a beautiful powder-pink nail polish, a darling boho-chic romper, and a pair of the cutest lace up ballet flats I had ever seen. Her cart matched the woman who stood before me: adorable and put together.
“I remember when I had the time to look like that,“ I thought to myself. I remember when I had time to put together an entire outfit, curl my hair, and actually sit down to flip through a magazine… all in one day.
I remember when the hardest decision I had to make was what shade of nail polish I wanted to buy, not what brand of hemorrhoid cream would give me the most relief.
On my drive home, I saw a young woman running down the street; headphones in, she was looking down at her watch, keeping a fast pace. She was (obviously) in shape, beautiful, and thin. You know what I’m talking about, her sweat even looked good.
“I remember when I looked like that,” I thought to myself. I remember when running was enjoyable, not running after a toddler who doesn’t want to get dressed, running to move the boiling pot from the stove, or frantically running with the same toddler to make sure she gets to the potty on time.
I remember when running wasn’t so tiring; when running was to maintain, and not to play catch up. I’m always playing catch up.
I remember a time before.
I pulled into my garage and turned off the van. I sat in the silence, my head already spinning with what I had to do once I walked through the door. My time alone had come and gone. I remember when I had more time for me.
I remember a time before.
But as I opened the door and dropped my bags, it happens.
I remember why I don’t look like that woman in the check out line when my 4-year-old runs up to me with a handmade Fruit Loop necklace and the best hug you could imagine.
I remember why I run my toddler to the bathroom all day long when she skips up to me saying that she finally pooped on the potty chair, fists triumphantly clutched in the air.
I remember why I don’t have the put together outfit everyday when my husband comes around the corner with a drolly, covered-in-spit-up 3-month-old who has the biggest smile on his little face because he knows his Mommy (and his milk) is home.
I remember a time before “Mom.” And running into the arms of those three little people reminds me that it’s a place, or a person, I could never imagine myself being again.