The pitter patter of summer started like any other normal summer. Let’s see how much we can put into one day. If there’s white space on the calendar, I have time to do it. So let’s do it. Yes, I can do it. And I, and we, did it. Living fast – it’s how I’ve always thought of our life as a family. Something always going. But that something-always-going… by mid-summer it was making me tired and frenzied. One day in late July, I had to make a side trip to Walgreens with Will and Liam to pick up a case of water. I was keyed up, juggling details in my head. And in my head right now is a brain affected by age, mom ADD, and chemo residue. It makes for a rather jumbled place most days. From the car to the checkout counter: “Hold my hand, we’re in a parking lot”… “I need to see you in the store”… “We have candy at home”… “Those are all glass jars – please don’t run your hand against them!” … “Don’t lie on the floor”… “Don’t walk in front of people, if they don’t see you…” Throughout this mom-chatter, I was drifting through what happened in the morning hours, vaguely aware of the present, and forecasting events for the coming afternoon, evening, and following days.
At the check-out counter, the young man cashiering said, “How are you doing today?” And I did the very audible Mom-grumble-grunt-groan. To which he returned, “Oh… not such a good day, huh?” He hadn’t started scanning. He was standing there looking at me with big, clear, blue eyes. They held firm, waiting for my response.
Sometimes, strangers aren’t so strange. I needed a swift kick. Lacking legs for boots and short of sending an apparition of Christ, God certainly did feel nearby in those calm baby blues. Am I nuts? I’m in a store with my children, lifting a case of water, handing over money – all without pain and without white gloves and without Purell, and I’m WITH my two gorgeous sons. What the hell could possibly be wrong with this most beautiful day?
Backtracking, I looked at him, shook my head to reorganize the marbles, and said, “You know, there is nothing wrong with today; it’s really a good day… Actually, it’s a great day.” In a kind of nonchalant surfer-dude way, he nodded in agreement.