I am at my local Sprouts, which is a hippie grocery store chain we have here in North Texas. I have Preston with me; the girls are at preschool. He is happy and giggly and generally Perfect Baby. A short, happy man in the stinky cheese section (my favorite section of the store) comes up to us and tickles him and laughs at him and makes faces at him, in a very not-intrusive, not-weird, very nice and welcoming and happy community way. Preston and the old man make friends. They are trading jokes within seconds, across the generations. They are a very cute couple, Preston and the old man in the stinky cheese section.
The old man says that he had seven boys and one girl and it was all wonderful. In a span of two seconds I can see it all flash in his eyes, and I know it was actually more than wonderful, it was fantastic and amazing and incredible. He misses the babies so much, he says. I say that P has two older sisters and the man laughs and says something like, “He’s got it coming, then!” And we smile at each other and then in the bread section the old man tickles him again and I kind of want to give the old man my phone number because P loves him so much. I want to have a playdate with him.
The church that Claire and Charlotte attend preschool at is a big church. It’s not a megachurch, but it’s not tiny. Last Saturday they had a craft fair and while Chris was riding his bike on Saturday morning I took the kids up there because I thought it might be fun to see if there were some cute holiday decorations. I don’t know, I LIKE CRAFT FAIRS.
I packed Preston and Charlotte in the double BOB, as has become my habit. Claire walked with me. Man, once you know the comfort of a double stroller IT IS HARD TO GO BACK. It’s a big stroller, but it fits through any doorway and generally any place that a wheel chair will go, which means it’s fairly accessible. The craft fair was not double stroller friendly, much less BOB friendly. It was crowded! We were QUITE the spectacle. A lot of “excuse me!” and “I’m so sorry!” and “My stroller is an SUV, I know! It’s crazy, I’m sorrrrry!”
But the thing was, I was the only person apologizing. In my smallish town I have a lot of people make sympathetic faces at me and my three kids every day. “That’s so hard!” “Your life is so busy!” “You have your hands full!” “WHOA!” People have said it all to me. When I venture downtown, to the legit city? To DALLAS? To places like the museum, where children shouldn’t be a problem? I get even more heavy-handed sympathy at my problem with fertility. (Which…HAAAAA.)
“Heyyyyyy, that looks tough.” “You need to leave your stroller out…there.” And, that sucks. I am a babywearing hippie but sometimes I want to use my double jogging stroller and people should shut up about it, you know?
At that craft fair? I have never had more people tell me about my gorgeous family. I was there for maybe an hour and I can’t even count how many people said complementary things to me about just EXISTING. Even more people said nice things about how my kids looked, or behaved! It was so great to be surrounded by an idea that my family is faaaaabulous and I’m in a very enviable life stage rather than, well, the exact opposite. “What a beautiful family!” “Such gorgeous children!” “Oh, they’re so adorable!” “I remember that, it was wonderful!”
It made me feel really good.