Ongoing

Beep. Beep… Beep.

The humming of the conveyer belt is subtle. But what’s not is the sound of the scanner; the pattern of the beep is inconsistent as each item’s barcode slides across the horizontal window with the beaming red light. The produce gives way to those gaps. The number has to be keyed in, the tomatoes weighed. Then there’s a coupon or two.

I wait. My eyes scan the magazine rack.

My cart is parked at the edge of the belt. Empty though, as my few items have already made their way to the belt waiting to be scanned themselves. They’re parked behind the separation bar.

The humming stops. The click of the phone. The announcement: Manager needed on aisle 2 please, manager needed on aisle 2.

I look up, Aisle 2. Dang.

My eyes wonder back to the rack. Kim and Kanye this, Paula Deen that. My eyes wince at the drama. I still taste the salt on my lips, the sweat dried on my temples from my workout class a couple hours before. Just needed to quickly swing into the grocery store to pick something up for dinner. Holden’s been at his new school for a couple hours by now.

I wait.

Not the ideal “quick” trip to the grocery store as I intended. Given this hold-up. However, I don’t mind or care as much as I would have before. As much as I would have cared in my old life, the life I chose to leave behind.

I’ve learned to not react in these little situations that are beyond my control. To not make big deals out of small things. I’m not about to pick up my items and move to another lane, and I hope the cashier nor the customer feel badly about the delay.

I’ve seen this situation play over tenfold before where it’s absolutely ruined the life of the waiting customer(s). And they made sure to let the others know it too. I try not to show disdain on my face, really I don’t have any anyway.

For if there’s anything pressing on my conscience, it’s the upcoming visitation weekend. And that’s all I’m thinking about. Another “adventure” to put in the books. See Visitations. It’s been all I’ve thought about for the past few days. I go through the same pattern every time. The anticipation starts, my nerves take over. It never fails, the day before we hit the road I have a breakdown. Like clockwork.

It happened when I was at lunch with my mom. Right before my quick trip to the grocery store. Deep in conversation about feelings about the upcoming weekend, and over Holden’s life so far. Two and a half years. When 98% of Holden’s time is spent with me, these couple of days spent going back to where everything did happen are reminders of what did in fact happen. All that we went through. I try to keep my head above water as the tears fall.

I’m not sure why the tears come these days. I guess I still struggle with the fact that Holden’s life is what it is: his parents are divorced. He will have visitations, and has had them since infancy. The life again, I never wanted nor intended for my own child. As difficult as this has been to come to grips with, I’m confident that Holden’s life is exactly how it should be- he is surrounded by nothing but love every day. He is thriving in his environment.

Furthermore, I struggle with trying to make sense of it all for him to understand. Who he’s going to visit. By now mostly everyone he knows has some kind of identity. Some type of knowledge about who every body is and isn’t in his life. Those he sees on a daily basis.

Not to mention how I worry. With every visitation, there’s new worry. They are snapshots within different developmental stages of his life. This one in particular breeds difficulty. Probably more for me than him, as always. But as he’s smarter now, and he has a memory. He knows when we arrive at the door this time that mommy is going to leave. He recognizes his other crib, his other toys.

But as I’ve said before, these visitations exist. For his exploration, his wonderment. To discover a relationship of which I’m not present.

Tears my heart apart when he clings to me. Cries. “Mama?”

Distract him with toys, snacks. Slipping away isn’t as easy this time.

I have to walk away. Force myself to close the door behind. It’s 48 hours. Like ripping off a bandaid in the realm of it all. Leave them be.

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Shhh.

I’m a wild mom. I’m a loud, singing, wrestling, walk-like-an-elephant, dance-til-you-drop mom. All within the comfort of my 4 walls. You’d probably only catch me doing the C-is-for-Cookie march in a crowded aisle of Target when Holden is being especially entertaining-demanding.

You gotta be like this when you have a toddler, especially a boy. They either are “running or sleeping” as another mom-friend recently described her two-year-old boy. How many people have I told lately that, “Holden doesn’t sit down, lay down. Unless he’s harnessed in a car-seat or sleeping in his crib.”

So basically, you just got to make a fool of yourself to keep your boy entertained, active, and happy. And hopefully, ultimately to instill lessons within him to be himself no matter what. We can save that for a different post.

He’s definitely got the crazy gene somewhere within him too. Thinks it’s hilarious to yell, be goofy, and especially… to scare people. He loves the anticipation. Starts sweating. Can barely keep his mouth closed before his deep chuckle emerges. Surely he inherited this from his Lula, or my mother Karen. Let me remind you, A mom is a mom.

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Boo! Hiding in the gym locker to scare me.

For the past few months, the bigger and louder the better. Any dance, song, walk, crawl, wrestle, or tickle. Everything had to be exaggerated. His brows rise, smiles wide enough to see from molar to molar. That high-pitch giggle turned to the deep, bellied chortle that was my goal to hear.

Not satisfied with my efforts until I hear something like this:

Though Holden loves to play a lot and be loud and goofy, he let me know how much is too much during a recent bubble bath. Apparently I was belting the ABC’s too loud for him to handle. He dropped his smile and stared at me with a head still full of suds. Whenever we end a song together we both clap and say “YAY”! Not this time. He brought his index finger to his nose, and I think, picking again, but no.

Ssshhhhhhhhhh. He says to me.

Stunned, I start to laugh. Louder and louder too, for this is the first time I’ve heard him use the consonant “s.” As my laugh got louder, so did his shh-ing!

I don’t believe anyone in our family has taught Holden to be quiet. It’s just not what we do. So, I’m grateful his new school is teaching him things that I don’t (manners), but especially for those consonants.

***Disclaimer, I do teach manners***

Crocs

My man’s got some big feet. Before even turning two, his pediatrician told me he’s got the average shoe size of four-year-old boys. They’re just about as wide as they are long.

So, Crocs are his most favorite type of shoe to wear. Just wide enough for his big feet.

He loves going to the new Crocs store at the mall. He admires the rows of pegs with all the different bright colors. He asks me if he can get “off” his stroller, and proceeds to walk up and down the wall of toddler choices. He walks slowly and points every single one out to me and smiles. He twiddles his fingers together and furrows his eyebrows. This is his toughest decision of the day. After telling him no to the girly “puh-puh”-colored ones about ten times, he finally makes his decision. But on two. One pair isn’t good enough. He ends up bringing one pair of bright blue ones and one pair of camo and orange ones up to the cash register.

I’d say he’s been shopping a few times in his life. Knows how it goes- cash or credit card, his favorite is the credit card. Loves to swipe. He gets it from his Mama.

Once he gets to the register he puts his two pairs up on the desk. He tells her what he wants to buy. But he can’t quite say the word Crocs. My jaw drops and so does the Crocs employee’s. We burst out into laughter and he wonders what’s so funny.

Hurried, and Holden smiling, we make our way to the exit of the store with Holden’s two new pairs of Cocks.

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