“Mommy, do we need Lima beans? Do we need toasted sesame oil? Do we need Twinkies? Do we need Smartfood? Will that really make us smart? Do we need denture adhesive?” and Lucas spends his time reaching for the most breakable items, trying to swat them off the shelves before I can intercept with my Matrix reflexes. In between answering “no, sweetie, we do not need any Imodium AD” and diving for the jar of grape jelly before it hits the floor, I also referee the fights that ensue over the shopping cart handle:
“I’m helping push!”
“Ow, stop pulling my hair!”
(What, you ask, does this have to do with a fern? I’ll get there…)
This past week, after surviving the barrage of questions, the fights, and saving the glass items from destruction, we took our place in the self-checkout lane of the store. There were two people ahead of us, each with overflowing carts. I sighed in anticipation of a long wait, refereed yet another fight with one hand, and looked down for literally two seconds to check the time on my cell phone.
*tap tap tap*
A bony finger belonging to the woman behind me pecked away at my shoulder.
Woman: “Are you in LINE?”
Me: *confused, as clearly I was, in fact, in line* “Er, yeees…”
Woman: *in shrill, rude, condescending tone* “Well, that register is open! It’s your turn! Hurry UP!”
I looked ahead to see that, indeed, the two people ahead of me had ninja-like checkout skills and had managed to ring up cartloads of groceries in under two nanoseconds. This did not, however, lower my blood pressure. At this moment, I had two options. My first (and frankly, the one I truly wanted to choose after a long afternoon in the crowded grocery store) was to smack Hanna Helpful and tell her to remove her finger from my shoulder blade before I did it for her. My second (and frankly, the one I knew to be better for my children to witness) was to channel my inner Tina Fey and pile on the sarcasm.
Me: “My goodness, thank you SO very much for letting me know.”
Woman: *looks confused*
Me: “Truly, I am so very, deeply appreciative” *holding hand over heart for more dramatic emphasis*
Woman: *looks more confused*
Me: “I would never, EVER have noticed that the register was available for use, and I am so thankful that you took the time to let me know.”
Woman: *backs away very slowly*
My blood pressure was still a bit high even after I returned home, fueled by Danny’s constant questions:
“Mommy, why was that lady tapping you on the shoulder?”
“Mommy, why was the lady talking to you like you were in trouble?”
“Mommy, why is your face all red?”
After I unpacked the car and put the groceries away, I noticed the late afternoon sunlight was making the ferns in our backyard glow with the most beautiful shade of green. Green has a calming effect on the human mind I certainly needed a little of that. I took my camera and we all headed back outside to capture a little soothing summer magic. It worked.