Time marches on, and suddenly, there are no more babies in this house. For ten years, I consistently had a kid in diapers. I used to have to pack up before heading out – the diapers, the wipes, the snacks, the toys, the emergency change of clothes. Now my sidekicks are all in school.
I was always out with at least one or two kids, and sometimes all four weaving around my legs, asking me questions, pushing the cart, or filling it with items we didn’t need.
What happened? I blinked, and now I run errands alone. I used to crave a child-free visit to Target or the grocery store. Now, I miss my sidekicks. I miss the chatter. I miss the questions. I miss the excitement surrounding everyday things like ringing yourself up at the self-checkout aisle.
I see the moms wrestling toddlers into strollers rushing to get their errands done. I know they’re embarrassed by a whining (or wailing) child. I know they’re frustrated that they can’t think straight. I know they’re rushing to get things done before a meltdown.
I see them breaking out the snacks and the bribes.
Just one more row.
Just one more stop.
We’re almost done.
I won’t be the one to tell them they’ll miss these days. I’ve heard it a million times. Obviously, you don’t miss all the days and all the moments.
But having a sidekick who thinks everything is SO COOL? Yes, I do miss that. The little person pointing out the spiderweb in the corner, the lady shopping with blue hair, or the dog riding in a backpack. The person who squishes my face for a kiss, waves to strangers and gets excited by free stickers and lollipops. The person jumping over cracks, break dancing to their favorite song in the store and jumping up and down in front of a picture of Mickey Mouse. I definitely miss that.
We can’t freeze time, and we can’t turn it back. I’ll smile at the moms struggling in the checkout aisles and enjoy what I have now – a hot coffee, time to wander the aisles, and a few quiet hours before everyone returns home from school.