Express Lane 12 Items or Less:
I emptied my basket onto the conveyor belt.
Milk, orange juice, salad, tomatoes, bananas.
A quick trip to the grocery store.
Or so I thought.
The cashier, a woman probably about my age, dragged the juice carton past the scanner, paused…looked at me and asked:
Do you have children?
My purse open, digging for my wallet, I looked up.
Yes I do.
How old are they?
Still searching for a ten dollar bill, I mumbled….
She began filling my blue canvas bag.
You don’t look old enough to have children that age!
Okay well I don’t know about…
As she weighed the bananas…
You must have had them young.
Ummm…no not really…
She took my cash…turned towards the register and added…
I was 40 when I had my son. I didn’t think I was going to be able to have any children.
As she handed me my change, I offered…
Wow that’s hard to have a baby at 40.
Yes it is!…Have a nice day!
I had never seen her before in my life.
This happens often. Random, sometimes personal, conversations initiated by complete strangers in the grocery store. I wonder why. Do I look smart? I’m not that smart. I really don’t know why detergent pods can leave holes in your laundry. But apparently I can commiserate as to why Proctor & Gamble won’t make it right.
Back to the cashier…and how “young” I looked…
Is there really an age-appropriate way to look…after raising 2 “old” adult children?
Let’s face it – the story of motherhood is unique to every woman. How much we all age – or appear to age – is the sum total of many experiences (…never mind genetics and health).
Not just motherhood.
However, that being said…
Motherhood does jump start the process. From day one…when you may stumble around bow-legged like you’ve ridden a horse for too long…after birthing an almost 10 pound first child. Swearing there will be no more. Until you change your mind.
I will admit…motherhood carves out a chunk of your heart and holds it forever. It also forces you to grow up. For real. The shock – to your entire system – of a love so epic. Slamming into a whole new reality: It’s not all about you anymore.
The Rite of Passage to end all others.
Before parenthood, your self…still rough around the edges.
There is real pain along the way.
The birthing. The sleepless nights. Sleepless days.
Endless decisions and acts of faith.
Stretching…reaching deep down…for patience…
You didn’t know you had.
Embracing the joy. The fun.
Taming the worry.
Searching for answers. Finding courage.
Hoping you know what the hell you are doing.
Because you love them so damn much.
Even when they cut away and move on.
You’re stronger for it.
Much stronger than you ever dreamed.
And, yes, older.
Rough edges smoothed…
More than ready…if you’re lucky…for the next level.
This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #41: Polish