Every few days, I find myself at the grocery store. One or both of my daughters is usually with me. Occasionally—very occasionally—I fly solo through the aisles of Hannaford, an experience many moms (including myself) would equate to a day on a desert island, pastel-colored drink with cocktail umbrella in hand.
Grocery shopping with kids is its own high-adventure experience. The other day, the girls and I rolled into Hannaford. “Don’t forget the junk food, Mom,” Grace reminded me. She had actually written up her own list, and handed it to me.
I scanned her nearly-8-year-old penmanship: potato chips, Nantucket Nectars, ice cream… “We are not getting a dog, Grace. Hannaford doesn’t sell pets anyway—you know that.”
Anna, meanwhile, was climbing out of the cart I had just (thought I’d) fastened her into. “I have to go potty,” she said.
Finally we were rolling through the aisles again. You know how that goes, friends. Can we get this? Can we get that? Why can’t we get a dog today?
“Look, Mom!” Anna pointed to a huge glass jar. “Pickles!”
“Don’t touch it,” I said. “Remember what happened that one time.”
Anna smiled and nodded. “But they cleaned it up, Mom.”
“But they’d rather not, honey.”
Moving right along.
Grocery shopping with kids is its own high-adventure experience.
A few things ended up in the cart that were not my doing. For example, two bath bombs. The girls must have tossed them in when I was picking out shampoo. Also, a box of fortune cookies.
“What are these?” Anna asked, later at home.
I looked at the box on the breakfast-nook table. “What the heck?”
The girls laughed.
“You’re driving me…”
“CRAZY! We know! We love you, Mom! Can we have some cookies! Please say, ‘Oh, fine!'”
Two mornings ago, I asked the girls what they wanted for breakfast.
“Cereal and a fortune cookie,” Grace said. Breakfast of champions.
“Me too.” Anna clambered up beside her at the table. “Why is it called a fortune cookie?”
I explained that the little piece of paper inside each cookie was a fortune, or prediction for the future. Sometimes there were Chinese words with translations, and sometimes lucky numbers for lottery tickets.
In that moment, I was perched between my daughters, all of us still in our pajamas with our hair just-woke-up crazy—you know what I mean—and I felt a ripple of quiet contentment. “You know,” I said, giving them each a little squeeze, “twice in my life I got really lucky.”
Grace smiled. “Anna and me.”
Then she jerked her thumb toward the family room. “I think you’re forgetting somebody.” (I swear this happened, just like that.)
And yes, I got really lucky with their dad too. Three times really lucky. Although, truth be told—really lucky countless times.
We each have our own understanding of what lucky means. Lucky is hitting it big on a lottery ticket (maybe we used the numbers from a fortune cookie). Lucky is missing a flight, but meeting the love of our life while we wait—all the frustrating-at-first-glance detours that led to our true final destinations. Lucky is both near misses and when everything comes together, seeing the Seven Wonders of the World and leaving behind legacies all our own.
What makes me feel lucky is the love and friendship I have in my life. My children, my husband, family and friends.
Later that day, I got a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. Kathleen and I have known each other since kindergarten, and I loved hearing her voice and catching up. We don’t always have the time to talk, but when we do, it’s effortless and heartfelt—a conversation that started 30 years ago and can hold until next time when needed. I’m deeply grateful for my good old friend, and told her so.
I’m deeply grateful for a good new friend, too, who stopped by soon after. When she came by, the house was a mess, and Anna was upside down on the rocking chair—but it was completely OK. I was happy to see her, and not concerned or self-conscious about the messy house (or upside-down parenting).
What a gift it is to have a friend who’s had your back since age 5, and another whom you don’t need to clean up for.
Lucky is both near misses and when everything comes together…
Gifts, good luck, lucky breaks. Blessings. We don’t always use the same words, or speak the same language…but sometimes, we mean similar things.
Yesterday, the girls and I went back to the grocery store. We needed milk. That was all. But I believe it’s scientifically impossible to go to the grocery store, with two kids in tow, and buy “just milk.” So…we didn’t.
Once again, Anna tried to sneak different items into the cart. “No,” I said. “Put that back.”
“Oh, fine,” Anna said, in a flawless impersonation of her mom. She grabbed the bag and trudged back to a shelf.
Grace slapped a hand on her forehead. “That child,” she said (another flawless impersonation of yours truly). “She cracks me up.”
My daughters and I spend so much time together, they sometimes sound like me. I’m grateful for the time, the companionship, all the adventures. All the crazy, and all the love.
Love and friendship have been the biggest gifts in my life.
And twice in my life, I got really lucky.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short story, “Backtrack.” An engaging read that’s can’t-put-it-down good.