Right now my 2 sons are out. One is at preschool, the other at his half-day program (his "preschool".) And I am here by myself.
Wednesday mornings I have 1.75 hours by myself. Each week it's a little different, how I choose to spend my time. I have been known to go to the library and leaf through back issues of People and US magazine, for a little escape. I have been known to hang out at Caribou Coffee, blogging as I sip a latte. More often than not, I head to the gym. Today I took myself to Target.
We have a very nice Target near our house. It's been open...what...about 4 years now? It's a Super! Target, where you can find a wide variety of grocery items. They don't have everything there, just the basics. But you notice a dramatic difference in your receipt when you shop for your basics there v. at the regular grocery store. Plus, they have a nice selection of Bob the Builder toys. The importance of that cannot be understated.
As I was pushing my cart around, choosing a bunch of bananas in the produce aisle, picking up canned tuna in the "canned meat" aisle, maneuvering around the checkout line with (mostly) moms and kids, it occurred to me that my being alone gave me a whole new identity at the store. Usually I am the mom, with one child in the cart, one tagging behind. Or sometimes, 2 in the cart (the kind with double seating), trying to break up fights as quickly and quietly as possible.
Today I could have been anyone. Anyone! Well, almost anyone. I did have my wedding rings on, so people could see that I am married. But the rest of it was sort of open-ended without my usual identity in place. Without my little guys around. I let my mind wander...
Maybe I was a newlywed, shopping for her new husband and new home? Maybe I was the mom of high schoolers. Maybe I couldn't have kids? Maybe I had chosen to not have kids. I saw a mom in front of me in line who was worn out, exhausted. She had a newborn baby boy and a toddler daughter with her. Our eyes met briefly as she stacked her groceries on the belt. And I wonder who she thought I was. I wonder if she thought, that lady looks rested and has no idea what it feels like to be me.