The girls and I were trudging our way through the grocery store after another one of our crappy Friday night dinners. I was pushing the cart down the aisles as Maddie and Katie chit-chatted about everything and anything. The cart rolled over a bunch of straws that had spilled out onto the floor. Bumpity bump bump went the cart. I barely looked up from my grocery list and kept walking. As we neared the end of the aisle Maddie called out, “Mom! Wait!”
I stopped and watched her run back to the straws. She squatted down and picked them up, then held them out to me, unsure of what to do with them.
“We can bring them up to Customer Service after we pay,” I told her. She nodded, still clutching the straws.
I paid for our groceries and we headed towards the Customer Service desk.
“I can do it, Mom,” Maddie said.
“Okay,” I replied.
“I mean, I can do it. You don’t have to talk.”
“Okay,” I said again.
Maddie is seven. I don’t mean seven in a she’s-not-a-baby-anymore kind of way. I mean Maddie is only seven.
“Excuse me,” Maddie began. “We were in aisle ten and these straws were all over the floor.” Maddie thrusted the straws towards the lady behind the counter. “I picked them up, but I didn’t know where to put them.”
“Well, thank you,” the woman said. “That was very nice of you to stop and pick them up.”
“You’re welcome. It was aisle ten,” Maddie reiterated.
I put my arm around Maddie and squeezed her tight.
“You’re a good kid, Maddie,” I told her.
And to think I was going to just keep on walking. Parents are supposed to set an example for their kids. Sometimes, it’s the other way around.