WARNING: To my southern aunts (the keepers of all that is proper and right as taught by my dear grandmother, Mamawa) Save yourself; Stop reading NOW!
Portland, Maine – “Woo! Woo! Woo!” yells my almost 2-year-old so loudly you wonder if you can still hear. Until–
“The fire truck, Deedah!” shouts his brother, “The FIRE TRUCK! We have to get it! We have to!” Desperate, my 4-year-old repeats himself ad infinitum. He stops only when the car is parked and he is safely strapped into the fire truck grocery cart at Whole Foods. Thank God, there are seats for two.
At the same time, another family pushes a police car grocery cart. Two parents and two children about the same ages as ours. But they are girls. They are quiet. They do not move. They just smile. They look around. The. Whole. Time.
My husband sheepishly pushes the boys right past them. Our cart is not quiet. No, it is a virtual rolling cacophony of fake fart noises, loud singing, and songs sung again using the forearm fart sound as an instrument. It’s punctuated with belly laughs and bigger efforts to make the next one louder and longer. All while Michael tries to remember our grocery list simultaneously apologizing to anyone within earshot of our cart.
And the timing is perfect because they meet those precious little angels in every aisle. It’s the fart cart verses the rolling example of how children should behave in public. And when I hear all about it, I can’t talk because I’m crying from laughing so hard.
One day I’ll hear from other Moms how their Sally or Amelia could not believe how well-mannered my son was on their date. One day, my sons will impress college recruiters. One day, they will not need me to quiet them with whispered threats in a church service. One day, I will humiliate them at their rehearsal dinners with these stories (and somehow the audience will not be able to imagine them as true). One day, I will walk through the grocery store in peace–by myself. The whole time, I’ll wonder if my boys are eating well wherever their adult lives have taken them. And I could just about cry at the thought of it. Because this will be over.
Even when I am cutting my 4-year-old’s hair and he shouts, “The hair hurts me! It hurts me! Help!” And he says it over and over again until I hear a sucking noise that sends a chill up my spine. Because that sucking noise can only mean one thing. The baby that was playing with a towel on the floor… has dipped it in the toilet and is sucking it dry! Even then, I am charmed by the outrageousness of the journey. Outrageous… and funny.
I have never been so deeply moved as I have as a mother. And that part, Mamawa would be very proud of.