This may not seem like it’s a big deal, but it’s a big deal. It is a photograph I was able to add to my #interestingtrash project on Instagram. I haven’t added a photograph to that series since October, 2019. And one of the photos I added in that month wasn’t even one of mine! A friend sent it to me! (By the way, I love those, keep sendin’ em people.) When I first got this idea, back in 2015, in the El Paso days, I was tripping over #interestingtrash and posting almost daily. Do I think there is less trash in Denver? Certainly not. I’m just so busy with three toddlers I don’t have time for anything interesting, let alone interesting trash.
For your contemplative pleasure I would like to bring you into the moment that this photo was taken…
It was an ordinary Friday afternoon. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing, which didn’t bother me because my hair was in a ponytail as usual. Against better judgement I had had two cups of coffee today. I usually only drink one because if I drink two I get a stomach ache. Not today. My chores for the day were complete and I had made dinner during Jonji’s nap. A dinner that no one was going to enjoy eating except me. I picked up Lila and Nina from preschool and the children and I set out on our errands.
Our first stop was Michael’s. I had a $5 bonus I needed to spend by the 31st. It was burning a hole in my to-do list. I needed palette paper. Have you ever been to a craft store with three little kids? It’s awful even if you have really good kids. Fifteen apologies to strangers later, we left there with four items instead of one. (Well played Michael’s. Got me again.)
T.J. Maxx is next to Michaels. The four year olds needed new yoga mats. (It’s ok if that sentence made you chuckle.) My blood pressure didn’t seem too high and I was still breathing so we made the push to complete the second errand. Five commiserating glances my way and six unnecessary items later we were in line to pay. The queue was huge. I almost bailed. Have you ever stood in a long, slow line at T.J. Maxx with three little kids surrounded by appealing junk they want you to pick up on your way out? Nina and Lila must have fondled every breakable item just to show me as if I couldn’t see it on the shelf myself. When they weren’t molesting the displays they were sitting on their rolled up mats like stools and holding on to the shopping cart for balance. Jonji had four yoga blocks stacked on themselves in the shopping cart and was standing on the top with one foot holding on to my shoulders for balance. He kept shouting “corn-corn” every time he saw a new bag of popcorn. As you might imagine, this was drawing lots of attention to us, which would be fine except Jonji has a bit of a cold and his nose is runny. Of course it was really running and boogerie at that particular moment. I had no tissues on me. As a gut reaction, because I didn’t want people to think he looked gross, I wiped his nose with the sleeve of my sweatshirt and then rolled it up to hide the snot smear. Twice. As if what I was doing wasn’t making us seem grosser?!
We finally paid and I ditched my shopping cart. Mistake. Jonji’s shoe fell off. I didn’t put it back on. Instead I threw it in one of my two shopping bags I was lugging and threw him on my hip. Mistake. We got back outside. It was windy, and colder since the sun had gone down by then. We had to walk back to the car which was parked in front of Michaels. The girls were carrying their yoga mats because they came with straps. Lila was shouting about how she was going to write her name on hers so Nina couldn’t use it. Jonji was crying and wiggling because he was mad I didn’t put his shoe back on. Nina had thrown herself down on the sidewalk because the strap fell off her yoga mat and I told her I wouldn’t re-strap it because my hands were full. She was refusing to move but cried louder with every step I took farther away from her and in the direction of the car.
Then I saw it. The sign the bum had thrown on the ground. It was a sign from God. Do something for yourself it said. I tried to reach my phone for the camera, but it was in my purse and twisted around Jonji, who I could not put down because it was cold and he only had one shoe, plus I had two bags in the hand not holding him. I almost gave up and said forget it, it’s not worth it. But the trash was too appealing. I called for Lila. After she finished putting Nina’s yoga mat together she wrestled my phone out of my purse. I got the shot and we were all on our way. Everyone got back to the car and immediately had a meltdown. They were cold. They were hungry. They didn’t want to buckle up. I gave them all gum, put on the Frozen soundtrack, told them to shut the hell up and peeled out of there.
I swore to myself on that car ride home that I would take some extra time for myself tonight, have a glass of wine, spin a record, and journal on my blog. Something I haven’t done since July of 2019.
And that is exactly what I did. After I cleaned up the kids, read the books, finished cleaning the bathrooms, put the dishes away, and finally put on a new sweatshirt.
And you know what? It was totally worth it. It always is. I guess you could say it’s a bit like exercise. You don’t think you have the energy or the motivation, but if you make the push you are always happy that you did.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. For what it’s worth, I don’t actually tell my kids to shut the hell up, and I don’t give my 18 month old gum.
P.P.S. I do a lot of things for myself. I just don’t always make the time to write about it. There are a couple of new paintings I have finished over the past six months that I have put in the gallery. With any amount of diligence I may find time to journal about them as well.