Many years ago my sister Lorraine and I were entering Target, laughing and gossiping, just out shopping for fun. As I grabbed a cart I noticed it had a wrinkled, abandoned shopping list at the bottom. Instinctively I grabbed the paper to throw it away. As I walked towards the trash I glanced at the list and this is what was written:

Bra Pads

Nipple Cream

Kotex

Hemorrhoid Ointment

Diapers

Enfamil

Wet Wipes

Advil

I stopped and thrust the list at Lorraine. “Look at this!” I laughed. “Isn’t this a sad, little list?” My sister scanned the paper and nodded. “I’m so glad we’re not here for that stuff,” she exclaimed. Both of us had been there and done that!

Luckily, today we were at Target for fun stuff – clothes, snack food, maybe some make-up or a gossip magazine.

Suddenly, instead of throwing the shopping list into the trash, I tucked it into my purse. I just couldn’t throw that little list of woes away. I sympathized with the random mother’s pain. The list was a good reminder that things could be worse, that they had been worse, that this had been my shopping list on more than one occasion.

Wandering the aisles at Target that evening I felt euphoric. ‘Hooray – that’s not my shopping list!’ I cheered repeatedly to myself. ‘Hooray! My tubes are tied!’ I triumphantly grabbed a bottle of wine off the shelf. Never again would I shuffle along, searching for bra pads, nipple cream, kotex. The days of vaginal stitches, engorged breasts, and sleeping in two-hour shifts were over for me. Forever.

Until yesterday. When once again, in a stunning turn of events, I wandered the aisles of Target in search of baby stuff for Lorraine’s unexpected fourth baby, born just two days previously. I held her newborn baby boy tucked up in a fuzzy, brown blanket to my chest as Lorraine loaded our cart, once again, with nipple cream, diapers and Tucks.

As we paused in the hosiery department, in front of the nursing bras, a woman approached us with a puzzled expression. “Excuse me,” she said. “Is that a puppy you’re holding?” She pointed right at the blanket clutched to my chest.

“No,” I chuckled. “It’s a baby!” I peeled back little Lochlann’s blanket and showed her his face. “This is my sister’s brand new baby boy.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed, relief flooding her face. “For some reason I thought you were breastfeeding a puppy in there and I just couldn’t believe it!”

I burst out laughing, then reassured her I would never, ever do such a thing. She left after a few ooh’s and aah’s at our cute little human companion, before I turned to Lorraine, stunned.

“She thought I was walking through Target breastfeeding a dog?” I gasped in pure astonishment. “How deranged do I look that she would think that?”

My sister was so busy laughing she was doubled over in pain.

“One day,” she burst out, “I’m sure that will happen, too. I mean, we never thought we’d be doing this engorged breast-nipple cream run again, right?”

And I had to agree. I patted little Lochlann’s head as if he were a puppy and sighed. You never can tell what the future holds, or what kind of lists you’ll end up making.

Welcome to this crazy world of woes and wonder, Lochlann!

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