I wrote this a few years ago for a newsletter. It has become one of the favorite stories I have told at writers group. With the kids heading back to school this week, I thought it was a good one to share here now.
It was late September, the kids had been back to school for about a month, and I was
relishing the quiet hours between 9 and 3. Time to work uninterrupted. If the weather was good, I could even get an extra half an hour in as I sent the kids walking to school and let them see themselves home. Why am I unprepared for the onslaught everytime they walk through the door at 3:15?
"Mommy, do you need to go to the store?"
"Sure." I answered, "You can come with me."
She wants a cookie, I thought. I can take a break from this in a while and take her.
Gabrielle offered, "I'll help you make the list." This was her way of getting me off of my project and out the door faster.
"Go ahead, hon." This was my way of staying on my project and helping my first grader become more independent.
"How do you spell asparagus?"
Oh, great! I can focus through a lot of background, but spelling requires all of me.
"Why don't you just write down the first letter of the things we need, and we will remember when we get there?" My idea satisfied both of us. Aisle by aisle in my mind, I named the things we needed, and Gabrielle marked their initial.
When we got to the store, my plan seemed to be working: "A" asparagus, how could we forget? Another "A" for apples, "M" mushrooms, "B" bread, but then she came to a "W." We stopped.
"W," "W," what did we need that started with "W?" Watermelon was out of season. We stood in the aisle between the bakery and the produce wracking our brains. Suddenly, Gabrielle turned toward the deli, and with her finger in the air declared, "I know, wunchmeat!"