I learn a lot in the grocery store.
If I'm standing at the check-out line, I learn everything there is to know about Jennifer Anniston's latest love triangles, Valerie Bertinelli's bikini comeback, and the fact that I never want to suscribe to a few magazines which shall remain nameless.
I learn that milk costs an arm and a leg yet somehow I manage to afford my Diet Coke.
I learn about people. I learn about me.
Today I was looking over my grocery list, noticing the other women pushing their way down the aisles. Some of them were about my age. Others were older ladies with freshly done hair and polyester pants. Some of the ladies were younger with kids in tow.
One of them in particular caught my attention.
I was looking at the milk. Yep. $ Arm and a Leg.
She was looking at yogurt. She had two young girls with her. One looked to be about two and the other, five or six years old. From all appearances, another baby could be born any day now.
This mom was on her cell phone. From her side of the conversation, I could tell she was chatting with a close friend. In between sentences, she leaned down, politely asked her friend to "hold on" and corrected her kids.
"Yes, you can have one of those."
I retrieved my milk from the cooler and moved on my way.
We met again several times. Each time she was still on the phone. I could hear her two year-old become louder and louder, whinier and whinier. As her cries echoed in a crescendo through the store, the mom became more and more exasperated.
"What's wrong with you? Be quiet."
She wasn't angry or mean. She wasn't abusive or neglectful. She was just busy.
I wanted to tell her,"Hang up and listen to your children. They are crying out for your attention, even while you browse the potato chips!"
Then I thought to myself how she may have been with them all day. Her conversation with a friend could be her break. I don't really know what her day has been like. After all, she has a two year-old, a five year-old, and one on the way.
I considered my own time with my daughter. The many days I felt tired with a two year-old at the hem of my capri pants. The moments in the grocery store when I just wanted to be able to shop alone. To think before I buy that carton of milk for an arm and a leg.
I thought about the times I've been on a computer or in front of the TV when she walked in the room. The moments I just needed a minute, but the minutes turned into hours.
We all need a break sometimes. We need rest. We need quiet. But those quiet breaks should be chosen carefully.
The moments we miss now could be the ones we cherish later. I don't want to miss a thing.
I want my daughter to know I love her, to know I'm here for her, to know she takes priority over a phone call or a blog post.
One day she may need to come to me for something extremely important. It may be about boys or drugs or her relationship with Jesus. It may just be about math.
Whatever the matter is, I want her to know I'm fully and completely available. I never want to put her on hold.
What could happen if I don't give her my time when she needs me? What would that cost? It may cost a good grade on a math test, our close relationship as mother and daughter, or even her life.
If the time I take with her costs me a phone call, a nap, or a fleeting blog entry, it's worth it.
She's worth it.
I never want to forget that.