At the grocery store

10/18/2011 at 9:06 am | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 11 Comments
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She pushed the little shopping cart so proudly, a smile spreading across her face as she came closer to me.

Then her foot caught the corner of a bin of some fruit or vegetable. And down she went.

Tomatoes, my list, my pen hit the floor as I ran to scoop her up in my arms and check hands, knees, elbows, face.

But she popped up quickly, a strange look on her face. No tears. A forced grimace. Glancing immediately at the guy stocking cucumbers next to her. Flushing red.

Then I recognized it. Embarrassment.

And my heart broke.

It strains as I write this.

She’s only three years old, and already aware of others observing her, judging her. Perhaps worrying what they think about her? Could it be so, already?

I can’t stop thinking about her face in that moment. Sweet chubby cheeks. Eyes on the brink of tears.

Afraid to show that the tumble hurt.

Until I knelt down and squeezed her. Whispered in her ear that it was okay to cry and it didn’t matter who saw her fall. Trying to be a good mom. Not too smothering. Not too tough.

Always walking this fine line.

And so hopeful that she’ll grow up confident, sure of herself, loving who she is.

No matter how often she falls.

(This is my first-ever stab at free writing. No structure. No editing and over-thinking. Just writing. It’s choppy and I’m practically twitching to edit it, but that would defeat the purpose, no?  Thank you to Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for challenging my brain. And my heart.)



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  1. I think it’s a wonderful post.
    And that line? The one between “hop up & brush it off” and holding them so tight they’ll never fall again. It’s a fine, fine line that I tap dance on every single day. You’re a good momma and you did just the right thing.

  2. You should do this more often! It is beautifully written. No editing needed.

  3. This is beautiful!

  4. I love this! It made my heart twinge, too, thinking about my own little D in such a scenario. Too young to feel embarrassed! I think what you did was perfect.

  5. Oh how I feel this. I’ve seen that same expression and it breaks my heart. How do they know? I wish they could keep that unaffected blissful ignorance of what others think for a while longer.

  6. Perfectly worded! My heart aches for you both. Three is tough!

  7. That’s beautiful! I could see and feel the scene so vividly. Walking that line is one part of parenting that just becomes more difficult and painful as our babies grow from delightful infants to real little people. You were perfect.

  8. I think you did a wonderful job. It’s such a great description of that moment.

  9. This is beautiful! You can tell it’s straight from the heart, and I felt like I was right there with you. Wonderful job, on both the writing and the mommy-ing. 🙂

  10. i noticed this last time S fell, too. He got up quickly to act like it was no big deal. UGH.
    You did the perfect thing.

  11. This is just gorgeous, truly.

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