I plopped dishwasher soap and whiskey on the conveyor belt. When I had my second child, I switched from wine to hard liquor. Wine was giving me heartburn and I had two kids. A Malbec just wasn’t doing the job. Also, we were out of dishwasher soap.
The cashier didn’t even blink, but the two High School girls behind me giggled. The laughs grew louder as I rifled through my bag for my driver’s license, pulling out teething rings, wipes, cloth diapers, and wadded up tissues before finally reaching my wallet. It was 10:30 at night and I was in my yoga pants, hair still unwashed, no make-up, and a spit-up stain on my sleeve. After I handed the cashier my license, I turned to look at the girls and give them a smile. Surely, they weren’t laughing at me. I was just being paranoid and self-conscious.
Both girls fell silent as I turned around. Then, the oldest pointed to a popcorn-crusted mitten ground. “I think that’s yours,” she said.
“Oh, yes! Thank you,” I said smiling brightly. The mitten was one I brought in support of the Olympics. It had “USA” stitched on the palm.
“Go, USA,” I said as I brushed off the mitten and shoved it back in the purse. There was silence. “Two kids.” I offered. Both girls rolled their eyes.
“Look,” I wanted to say, “get a good look. This is what happens when you sleep with boys and have babies. It isn’t pretty. And this is me trying. I really did try today because I put on lip gloss when I dropped my daughter off at school. So, see, I tried. And I understand that this isn’t what you want. You think you aren’t going to be like me. You think you’ll be like Gisele or some other hip famous mom (whose name I can’t think of right now because it’s past my bed time), and maybe you will. But you won’t be all the time. One day, you’ll look in the mirror expecting to see that cool 16-year-old and all you’ll see is eye bags, yoga pants and belly fat. And on that day, you will think of me, the lady at the store buying dishwasher soap and whiskey and you’ll get it.”
Of course, I said none of those things. People don’t go to the grocery store looking for karmic signs. They go for Cheetos and panty liners. But it was hard to keep my mouth shut, because I hear women say “No one ever warned me it would be like this” when they encounter potty training, sleep deprivation, or a toddler throwing a tantrum because you made her blueberry pancakes. And when I hear those words, I want to laugh. You were warned. You were warned by every exhausted pudgy woman standing in the check-out lane buying children’s Tylenol and wine. You just chose not to listen.
But, I kept my mouth shut, took my change from the cashier, grabbed my bag, and put on my one mitten. When I got home, I started the dishwasher and made myself a hot toddy.
You’ve been warned.
This is from my Gazette column. This was published a while ago. So, I want you to know that things are so much better…who am I kidding? Everything is the same.