Every two hours, like clockwork, my stomach tells me it is time to eat. If I wait too long I cannot concentrate on anything else except a snack. It doesn’t have to be a meal, but a little something to tide me over generally works. Therefore, when I came home after two weeks away and had an empty refrigerator, my first stop was the grocery store. It is there that I realized just how much having children changes a person, or at least me.
I literally walked up and down aisles putting things into my cart, realizing that for the time being I have no kids at home. I gently removed items from the cart; putting them back on the shelves, feeling somewhat vanquished at the thought that I no longer knew how to shop for two. It’s true; I rarely eat bananas, yet somehow they found their way into my cart and I had a tough time putting them back. My kids love bananas, but none of them will be home for a few weeks; my head reminded me, but my heart almost hurt as I awkwardly replaced them on the display.
While I miss my children and the general chaos that fills our home, I am thrilled they are all having the summer of their lives in New York, at college and at camp, respectively. What I can’t believe is that while I pride myself on being a headstrong, independent woman; I wonder if somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to think of myself as a single being. I am not saying this has to be a negative entity. Perhaps it is one of the more beautiful outcomes of motherhood that makes us into selfless human beings. I knew from the day my first child was born that life would never be or feel the same, but never did I imagine that even twenty-one years later, that same overwhelming yearning for my offspring’s’ happiness is incorporated into just about every decision, even the subconscious; including bananas.
As I write this, I am reminded of the anonymous person, who once responded to my holiday card writing back to tell me that I needed to get a life outside my children. I chuckled at the time, wondering who this obviously very sad person was that felt the need to offer up such pathetic advice. I have a life outside my children; a life that has allowed me great friends, a husband I still want to be around, the opportunity to write and so much more. The best part is that while my life moves on, I feel confident that I am doing it unreservedly and selflessly. Perhaps these characteristics are innate, but I somehow believe – for me, it is, because I am fortunate to be someone’s mother. And to the person who tried to save my life with their sheepish advice; you should be happy to know that I can smile when I contemplate whether or not to purchase those said bananas and I sincerely hope you have, by now, some sort of metaphorical bananas in your cart.