Thursday, March 7, 2013

Checking Out, Checking In

Reaching down, I grab the gallon of milk from under the carriage. My eyes glance and meet hers.

Crap, she's awake. 

It is inevitable, that Margo would sleep the entire grocery shopping trip only to wake upon entering the checkout line.

Silently, the prayer enters my brain.

Please God, let her go back to sleep, or just be quiet while I check out.

Exhaling, my hand grabs the other plastic jug. I shimmy around the cart, and place them both on the belt. As I continue unpacking, the noises begin. At fir'. st, just grunts, but then the gasps and gulps that indicate pending unease.

Quicker, quicker, quicker, I unpack.

"Can I have candy, mama?' Maeve asks, hanging precariously on the edge of the cart.

"yeah, me too! Me too!' Mo adds, jumping up and down.

I wipe the sweat from my brow between loading the bag of apples and granola bars. Reminding the girls of the lollipops they had just enjoyed, it's coming.

The cadence of her whimpers have changed. No longer quiet, the crescendo hits the air.

Margo is done.

I am not.

"Mommy, Margo's crying!" Mo eloquently points out.

Suffocating the desire to respond, "No shit!, I take a breath in and through gritted teeth say, "I know babe. Can you talk to Margo baby while Mommy finishes with the groceries?"

"Um, nope. I'm playing with Maeve."

Again, I take another breath, listening to the compassionate voices in the aisles surrounding me. Echoes of "Poor little thing" meet equal part "I don't miss that" and a few audible sighs.

"Shush" I start, "Shush Margo Baby. We're almost done."

Her cries continue, however food remains in the cart.

"Mommy, Margo's still crying" Maeve adds, rolling her eyes from behind the cart. "She not stopping!"

"I know baby, but I have to finish putting the food out and pay." I say. "Margo will be okay."

"Would you mind if I try putting the pacifier in her mouth?" she asks.

I didn't notice her, but at some point the woman had put her cart behind.

"You'd think people would steer clear of this aisle" I joke, "you know with the crying baby and crazy looking mom."

She shares a smile, "Oh no, " she says, "I just love babies and it looks like you need a hand."

As I continue emptying the cart, I hear the nonsense talk we often make towards babies.

"You're too cute! You need to stop crying." she says to my screaming baby.

Her cries subside for a moment.

My eyes meet the lady's.

"Thank you" I say as I place the last of my groceries on the cart.

"Ah you're welcome" she starts, "I just came from a funeral. I needed this. She is so cute and she just made my day better."

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry". I say just as the cries begin again and Mo grabs my hand.

"Margo's crying again, Mama!" Mo says in her sing song voice.

I look to her, just as the cashier interrupts, "M'am I'm all done".


  1. The dreaded checkout line at the grocery store...are you sure that this is your story...and not mine? LOL Cause I swear this is my life.

  2. Jackie,
    Your stories are just so great and your girls are just beautiful! They're so lucky to have you for their mom! This story, though, brought tears to my eyes!
    Becky Rossi

  3. Oh yes, I so remember those days...right down to the sweaty brow. Thank goodness for nice people. Hang in there mama. I got to grocery shop with all four of mine today (no school today).


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