There are days like the one I’m about to tell.
I had heard of them.
I thought they were only for “good moms” who were patient and kind and crafty and... well, perfect.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not fishing for compliments. On most days, I waiver right around "decent" on the parenting scale. There are those better than normal days where I hit "pretty good", but "wondermom" is a phenomenon that I had only heard about on Pinterest and Facebook.
I’m not sure what had gotten into me, but it’s like when a pitcher throws a perfect game or a basketball team goes undefeated in March madness. I was in the groove, and when that happens, you don’t ask why, you just thank God or the Universe or assume there was an anomaly in the time-space continuum and go with it.
I was with my 3 year old in the grocery store.
That sentence right there would send shutters down any normal mom’s back, but it happens, and you steel yourself for the experience.
However, this particular day, as if taken over by aliens, I entered the store with the attitude that this was going to take as long as it would take and I wasn't going to rush it.
We enter the produce section first and, par for the course, she wants to help. Without thinking or trying to shove her in the cart seat where I have more control, I agreed to let her do so.
I look at my list and say, “Okay, we need apples. Let’s get a bag and you can pick them out.”
With that one simple statement, I completely blew her mind. Walking over to the bags, she looked at me as if to ask, “Who are you and where is my mother?” At the same time, you could see her shift into not caring that my body was being used by someone else. She was going to help and that was enough.
Her eyes wide, she took the bag as if it was gold in her hands and walked over to the carefully stacked apples. She looked at me, waiting for me to say, “Don’t touch that!” as she reached for the only apple she could, which was on the bottom of the pile. We all know that one apple from the bottom could send them all tumbling to the ground, and I usually would have announced that to the world, but instead, I said, “okay, now let me show you how to pick the right apple.”
We looked at them, lightly squeezed one, and talked about what makes a good apple to bring home.
“Look momma! If I put my nail into one, it makes a mark!”
Without flinching, that one went in the bag.
We continued around the store in this same fashion. Me, the teacher, her the student. She was learning real world things from me, and get this, I didn’t once say, “hurry up!”
Then, magically, as we were waiting our turn at the deli counter, a woman turned to me and said, “You are a good mom.”
I looked at that woman, and I swear, she was surrounded by white light, a halo over her head and angelic music playing around her.
I said, “Excuse me?” I needed to be sure I heard her right.
And maybe turn on my phone’s voice recorder.
She said it again only slower and more pronounced somehow knowing that this was new for me, “You’re a good mom, the way you are in the store with her."
"And you, my dear,” looking at my daughter, “are an excellent helper!”
My daughter beamed! I wasn't really ready to stop talking about my achievements, but she’d already moved on to my kid. Anyway, I said, “Thank you. It’s a good day.”
She nodded at me knowingly. I think she understood that one of those golden days was upon me and the more we talked about it, the more likely it would be to disappear.
My number at the deli was called. I ordered what I needed and asked for samples for my daughter. We moved on, but I walked on air for the rest of our time in the grocery.
I felt as if everyone was smiling at me. Cheering me on. As I navigated towards checkout line, I started to tense up knowing that the beautifully stacked goodies lining the rows as you funnel towards the checkout counter are traditionally a battle zone of “no you can’t have a chocolate bar or a bag of swedish fish." In another magical moment, there was no line, and I strategically kept her engaged past it all. Man, was I in the zone!
“Now help me get these groceries onto the counter please.” She too, was floating on air, and this was another coup for the day.
We paid for the groceries (she swiped the card and “signed”), she got a lollipop from the cashier and we stood there just about to exit the store. I took a deep cleansing breath and smiled down at lovely child.
She said, “Can I push the cart to the car?”
I said, “Not in the parking lot sweetie, it’s not safe”
And the tantrum began. “I WANT TO PUSH IT!!!”
The golden moment was over, but I was still basking in it’s glory. So, as people walked by gawking at me pushing the cart and carrying my sweet, screaming girl under my arm like a football, I just smiled and kept going.
I wouldn’t get annoyed or frustrated for at least three more minutes.
It was a good day. It was a glorious day. Or part of one.
I'll take it.
If you haven't had one of these. You will. If you have, tell me about it. I need to know that it can happen again.