Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now at Target: The best and worst of motherhood

So I went to Big Red with Boo yesterday to get some staples. I pull in to the parking lot and find a space near the carriage return. Since I now put Boo in the seat, I like to be by the return so I can get the cart back easier. I go to pull into the space, and a lady is hanging out of her car into the space I want, doing something really, really slowly. So I put on my blinker and silently wait.

Well, the "lady" looks up, and I see she is pouring a bottle for the red-faced, screaming newborn in the middle of the backseat. She gives me the look of death and then she flips me the bird. Right to my face.

Now, back in my younger, pre-Boo, loudmouth days, I would have mixed it up with her. But now I have a child. And I don't want said child to get in the middle of an altercation. So I avoid eye contact and pull into the space. Because I still am a last-word freak, however, after I got Boo into the carriage and started heading for the store, I shot over my shoulder, "Wow, classy people." I'm so mad I'm shaking.

But then I think about it. I know I was a bit wrong. But I honestly didn't know there was a baby back there. And I knew the haunted, exhausted look in that woman's eyes only too well. Part of me wanted to slap her, part of me wanted to hug her and tell her to hang in there. It's all part of the newborn hazing ritual.

Now, for the best of motherhood: I got what I needed to get, paid and headed over to Starbucks/Pizza Hut to grab some lunch. I pay for my food and head for a booth with Boo, who is seriously pissed off I'm eating in front of him. I gave him a bit of my crust, and that satisfies him. Just then, an older lady, younger girl and newborn come around the corner, and I'm blocking their way, so I move the cart. Boo is very interested in the baby in the cart and chatters away to me. The young girl gets up to get their drinks, and Boo squawks at me for more bread.

The young girl's head whips around. "Was that her?" she asks the older woman anxiously.

"Nope, it's my kid complaining about not getting enough bread," I tell her. She smiles and continues to the counter.

The older woman left in the booth turns to me. "How old is your baby?" she asks.

"Almost 10 months," I say as Boo jabbers away.

We chat about baby issues, and then I ask, "How old is that baby?"

The woman puffs up with pride. "A week old," she says.

Suddenly, I see myself in January. That's me and my mom, sitting in the cafe, my exhausted self getting some caffeine stimulation while my older, wiser mom looks over her grandchild. I smile and wish them well as I finish up my lunch, bus my table and move toward the exit.

Ah, motherhood: It's a double-edged sword.

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