I found this amended version of my grocery list in the car. It not always easy to determine what he needs, but sometimes it’s crystal clear.
We volunteered to throw the class Christmas lunch at our house and found ourselves in major prep mode. The light snow that had been falling all day put us in just the right spirit. When walked into the supermarket they were playing a snappy version of Jingle Bells. Our boy started to bop a little as he walked in time to the music; I did, too. We bumped shoulders a little and headed toward the bakery, bopping together. I was lost in the moment, having fun.
“Hey there!” Busted, dancing in the store, by the mother of a classmate of my daughter – someone I know well enough to be a Facebook friend but not so well that I didn’t feel sheepish. I threw up my hands.
“Okay, you caught us dancing the supermarket! We are modeling good holiday behavior!” He was bopping off without me so I had to move on, but we left her smiling. When I caught up with him he was very busy at a table piled high with Christmas cookies.
“We have to move these cookies to allow the train to go through!” Among the piles of cookie boxes there was indeed a buried train setup. The cookies were encroaching on the tracks and had dislodged the train from its proper spot. He worked quickly and efficiently, keeping the cookies in neat piles but reorganizing them so they would not interfere with the train setup. He was the spitting image of his father in every wonderful way, so I took a picture to e-mail his traveling Dad and tell him how we’d been caught dancing.
When I finished sending the mail on my phone I looked up and the teenager who works in the bakery was standing a few feet away, watching us in bewilderment. She had come out from behind the counter to watch us warily and I saw it dawn on her that he was doing a good job, and was improving on what I assumed to be her cookie arrangement.
He finished up and surveyed his work with folded arms, pleased as punch.
“There! That’s better!” I looked at the girl.
“Is this okay?” I asked.
She nodded slowly, “Oh, yeah.”
And then he was off.
“C’mon Mom, we have to track down that sneaky pizza crust!”
If there is a future in holiday cookie displays, we are in great shape.
Off to camp for just over 24 hours and everything was just fine until we went to the grocery store and realized I only have to make one kind of dinner tonight. No special burger, dog, or pizza, just the regular stuff. I was okay with all that – happy, even – then, stashed under the checkout on the way out, I saw the ice melt with the Road Runner on the package, and no one said “Beep! Beep!” in my ear. I realized that for the next several weeks I will not need to invoke the local grocery store rules:
- No Road Runner sounds.
- No Tigger bounces.
- No yodeling.
- No skipping.
- No chasing.
- No DVDs.
- No Scooby Doo gummy snacks.
- No buying every single container of lemon sorbet, box of Rice Chex, or package of gluten free chocolate chip muffins (one of each only).
There are dozens more and they will all come back to me every time I go to a different store. There will be days when the suspension of the rules will come as the relief it is supposed to be, but today there’s just an empty space where the “Beep Beep!” usually is.