Back story: I don’t drive–long story–so when my kids and I need to go to the grocery store we walk. It’s only about a third of a mile so, up until recently, I’ve been strapping the kiddos into the stroller and we meander over.
Here’s the thing. They can both walk. My daughter is getting a bit big to be in the stroller all the time. My son is an independent little dude who wants to do whatever his big sister does. So…
The other day we all walked to the store together. I still brought the stroller to put them in when crossing the two busy streets we gotta get past, and as a handy get-groceries-home device, but otherwise the kids walked the whole time.
They walked to and from the store ever so slowly, picking up pine cones and sticks and playing in the grass. You know–that cute stuff kids do that only sometimes drive me crazy. Like when I have to pee.
Letting them walk to and from the store unencumbered was the easy part of the adventure.
The part that stressed me out beyond reason was them wandering around free at the store.
Don’t get me wrong. My kids aren’t monsters. They are surprisingly well-behaved or so I heard from passersby. But still…
My son wandered into the wine area when I was getting milk and I freaked out for half of a second because I couldn’t see him, and when I could see him all I saw in my mind’s eye was him knocking over a case of expensive wine which would be a tragedy on roughly 207 levels.
My daughter grabbed an armful of oranges while I was grabbing bananas and demanded that we take them home.
My son thought the avocados were cool balls to throw… so we bought a few of those as well.
They took stuff off shelves and put them back at my direction.
They cut people off because kids don’t have a concept of “look where you’re going.”
They played Ring-Around-The-Rosie in the cereal aisle.
They touched every piece of candy in the checkout line and said hi to everyone who looked at them.
And I wanted to apologize to everyone who crossed our path. I wanted to say “I’m sorry” to the college kid who couldn’t get to the milk because my son was struggling to open the case door himself.
I wanted to say “I’m sorry” to the older gentleman in the motorized cart whom my daughter cut off not once, but twice. She probably scared six months off of his life due to the fear he was going to run over her. Twice.
I wanted to say “I’m sorry” to the cashier for the kids trying to put impulse buys on the conveyer belt, and to the baristas because… well, I guess simply for my children’s presence.
I wanted to write this and say I was sorry to everyone we encountered.
Then I thought about it and realized I have nothing to be apologetic for.
My kids were just being kids. And they were actually being good kids. They listened when I told them to return the Frozen cereal to the shelf, and moved their toddler legs as fast as they could when I told them to keep up. They smiled and were pleasant. They didn’t throw a tantrum. They didn’t scream.
The only thing I could apologize for was them getting in people’s way and, let’s face it, I’m 32 and I still do that.
It was my own hang-ups that I should apologize for. My own insecurities that tell me strangers I’ll only see for a minute are going to hate me for letting my kids loose. My own fears of inconveniencing anyone. My old judgmental self who used to hate when kids were terrors in the store and, now that I’m a mom, I totally get it.
For those things I’m sorry.
In the end, though, I learned I can allow my kids to be free at the store, that nothing awful will happen (fingers crossed) and that my minions are pretty great.
And that I’m a good mom because I survived and people seemed to like my offspring.
And that I’m a cool mom for letting them walk like big kids.
So… Sorry Not Sorry.
This post was originally published on Is It Bedtime Yet?