Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weighing the Cabbage

This morning, there was a Moment in the produce aisle that stopped me in my tracks, that was affirming and beautiful, one of those breathe-deep-and-drink-this-in moments.

Aidan has a new privilege and freedom this summer - staying home, alone, for short bits of time (i.e. grocery runs or trips to the gym).  All summer, he's chosen to stay home, but this morning, after dropping Leo off at camp, Aidan elected to join Pax and me at the store.  It's been awhile since he has shopped with me.  When we neared the end of the row of produce along the wall, Aidan looked at me and said in the sweetest voice, "Mom, shall we weigh the cabbage?"  That was it.  That was the moment that brought my distracted self to an instant halt, focusing entirely on this one beautiful memory that Aidan has, and was sharing with me again: all those mornings we spent shopping, year after year, pausing at each trip to weigh a half dozen heads of cabbage.

In that simple question, I realized that the memory of weighing the cabbage is Big.  It's bigger than the memories of the tantrums he threw, and the subsequent anger I felt at him in the store... bigger than the times I marched him out of the store so that he could pitch his fit away from disapproving glares... the cabbage is bigger than when I felt sad, or weary, or exhausted, or crabby, and trudged on with our cart...bigger than the mischief he caused in the aisles as he grew older, of the day I had to put his invisible friend, Boy, in time-out in the frozen food aisle because he refused to stop messing around with Aidan.  The cabbage is evidence, too, of my good reading training:  why it matters so much to talk to young children, to label, to help them experience even the most "mundane" of environments like the grocery store, to help them build a context and background knowledge for them to ground new ideas in the future.

Maybe, though, Aidan does remember all those other things that happened on our trips.  But what mattered to me in that moment was that he remembered weighing the cabbage.  It was the best part of his shopping trip, and mine, too.  And so I said to him, "Yes, why don't you weigh the cabbage?  Why don't you weigh the cabbage with Pax?"

And they did.  They weighed every last head on that stand.

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