The bagger chit-chatted with my youngest. “What’s your name? . . . Oh, that’s beautiful! . . . Do you have any brothers or sisters? . . . One of each, huh? Are they in school? . . . And, so, I bet you go to daycare maybe? Some days?”
At this point, G. looked a little puzzled. I’m not actually sure that she knows the word “daycare”, truth be told. My older kids certainly know what daycare is, but G. might not grasp the concept yet.
I just smiled, “She actually stays with me all day.” And left it at that.
“Oh,” the bagger said. And the cashier piped up, “She’s lucky.”
Nods all around.
I smiled again. “So am I.”
We finished the transaction, talking about other little things, like the fact that all five of us in that small register space had been born within a week of one another. Five Geminis!
When I was done, I started to push the cart away and the young woman who had assisted the bagger followed me.
“Thank you,” she said.
“For knowing that you’re lucky.”
Turns out that she, though she seemed almost impossibly young to 36-year-old me, had a one-year-old baby girl. And she’s doing everything she can, in every way she knows how, to take care of that little one.
I’ve griped before about the phrase, “oh, you’re so LUCKY you get to stay home.” I still don’t really like it. Mostly, I don’t like that it too often comes from women who simply have different priorities or choices from me. Sure, hanging in your jammies and playing “this little piggy” might sound like the charmed life, but too many of these women in my life aren’t as delighted at the idea of having a super-strict budget and never drinking Starbucks.
There are trade-offs, my friends.
But sometimes, it’s a little more clear to me.
And, so, I asked her. “Do you have a picture of your baby girl? Maybe on your phone? I’d love to see her.”
I oohed and ahhed appropriately, then said my goodbyes. And I’ve had a chance to think about it, since.
I am lucky.
But I’m not lucky because I “get” to stay home.
No, I’m lucky because I have that option. I’m lucky because my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to priorities. I’m lucky because I have people in my life who view what I do as something valuable.