Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life in (Parentheses)

Parentheses:  "Parentheses are used around text that adds extra information to what has gone before." (Encarta® World English Dictionary)

I love parentheses. When I review whatever I've written, I notice that I use parentheses a lot (in fact, in my best New England-ese, a wicked lot). These are my explanations, my sidelines, my back story. I am not always a "you get what you see" kind of person, so I feel like, as a person, a lot of what makes me who I am is in the parentheses. And there are times to share that and times to keep it to myself.

This morning at Target, I just had my two little girls - Eliza was properly buckled in the seat in the front and Violet was riding inside the back where the items go (and, yes, I know there are big no-no signs about that, but this was a quick trip - okay, not exactly a quick trip because what trip to Target is a quick trip? - and I need to figure out the proper way of using parentheses in my parentheses). The point is I felt Violet was completely safe because she always stays seated and loves to organize my items inside the cart (and I was planning on only getting a few things).
Not our Target trip, but my sweet girls at the grocery store

A woman shopping alone commented on "how cute" Violet and Eliza were (and they are!) and asked if they were about two years apart (which they are). She reminisced about how she remembered those days and reminded me (as I have been reminded a gazillion times) that it goes so fast. I smiled in agreement with her and murmured, "I know, I know." She went on to say, "I know it goes by so fast because my two children are also two years apart and they're already 5 and 7. And now here I am, shopping alone. I miss them so much." Five and seven years old? And you miss them so much and are now forced to shop at Target alone? Where did they go? Work camp? MY oldest is 9 and, trust me, I am fully aware of how fast it goes. In fact, I think about it often when I look at my 9-year old that I cannot believe he has already been on this earth for nine years. And that's gone by so fast. And that in another nine years, he will be GOING OFF TO COLLEGE! And that freaks me out. (That's not what I said, though, that's what went through my head.)

This mother looked at me and probably thought of me as the young mom just starting out.  She probably DID think fondly to when her children were 1 and 3 and would ride so sweetly in the Target shopping cart together. (And, trust me, I know that is not such a pleasant experience when they are 5 and 7.) She probably felt that mother's ache to have them small (or small-er) again and carting them around Target instead of dropping them off at school every day where who knows what was going on in their day. She probably did have moments during her much-quieter day when she missed them intensely and looked forward to the school dismissal bell so she could gather them back into the safety of her arms again.

So I kept my dismissal of her advice "oh no, these are my number 4 and 5" in the parentheses in my head. I didn't lie, I just didn't want to ruin her moment. Because that mom is at a place where I am not yet. My days are still full of little ones, and my heart will ache, too, when that time is done.

1 comment:

Christina Boudreau said...

I hate that you ALWAYS make me cry!