Thursday, December 17, 2009


A stranger graced me with a priceless gift at the Dollar Tree on Tuesday.

Daisy's pick up from school that day was complicated. She was still mad at me from Monday, when I forgot to send her to school with gum drops for gingerbread houses. After she came home with a gingerbread house that really could have used a few gum drops, we sat down and made a list of everything else we needed for this week's activities - school projects, secret santas, etc. - and planned to go straight to the dollar store after school the next day. So Tuesday, Daisy and I bee lined for the car at pick up.

Meanwhile, Violet bee lined for the school playground. On my way to retrieve her, I ran into a mom I needed to talk to anyways . . . I found the kids' belongings strewn in a path to the playground. Daisy was watching her friends in frustration as they swung themselves up to the top of the parallel bars. She tried to squeeze in but couldn't hoist herself up. She asked me to help her, which I did, but she panicked because she couldn't find her balance at the top. I stabilized her then walked away. Another mom intervened. I detected a bit of judgment from one mother to another in the way the mom helped her . . . I really haven't been putting in enough face time with the playground moms recently. I reminded Daisy that we needed to go.

Once I got Daisy ready to walk to the car, I chased down Violet. She was annoyed to be plucked from the playground, so she took it out on her sister in the car. She played her sister like a pro, eliciting lots of screeches and tears. I warned, ordered, yelled then explained the concept of "misery loves company." I could see that we only had one stop in us. So, whatever I was making for dinner that night was going to have some carefully selected dollar ingredients.

Once we got into the store, I was in the zone. The kids ran in opposite directions so I corralled them and reminded them of our list. I blocked the steady stream of unnecessary stuff in our cart and encouraged them not to give up on their searches, while planning dinner and figuring out how to accomplish the school projects. Daisy was frustrated with all the crappy stuff, but I knew we could make it work if we kept looking. Oddly, Violet was tasting her way through the store, licking everything she could grab. I got down at eye-level with her to coach her in proper shopping techniques.

When I stood up, a woman approached me, "Excuse me . . . I know it's none of my business." I thought, oh no . . . are my shortcomings showing again? "I've been watching you and I just wanted to tell you that you're a really good mother." I played it cool . . . oh thanks. That's really nice of you. But I strutted through the rest of the aisles, asking the kids repeatedly: who's your mama? "Um, you are?"  That's right! (In your face, playground mom!)

As far as this blog's concerned, it was the highlight of the week.


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