‘We have to stop at the grocery store for Abuela. Remember everyone needs to wear a mask and it has to stay on,” I tell my seven year old daughter. Her face lights up as soon as she hears ‘stop at the grocery store.’
“Yes! I haven’t been to any store since winter. Can I wear my unicorn mask? Can we leave now? When are we leaving?,” my daughter replies all in one breath.
I have been helping my mother since she had her surgery a few weeks ago. Today I needed to get her extra groceries that her food delivery service missed. After receiving the call from my mother I began to feel a little overwhelmed by the feeling of being torn between maintaining two homes, and annoyed at the delivery service for not getting the order correct. Since my husband was busy working on home projects with my son, and my daughter has a way of finding trouble when she gets bored, my only choice was to bring her with me to the store. My daughter, W, was thrilled to get the opportunity to be a helper today.
On the way to the food store we reviewed the correct way to wear a mask and how to remain socially distant. W’s eyes were wide with the prospect of walking through the aisles once again. She kept asking what we were buying, and she began counting each item on her small thin fingers. “Well, that is not that much stuff, but I am SO happy I’m going.”
When we arrived at the parking lot we slipped on our masks. I looked down at her and in typical W style her purple unicorn mask matched her lavender shirt, and her lavender shirt matched her pastel checkered Vans. W took my hand as I walked and she skipped to the store entrance. We went early and the food store was almost empty. W stopped as soon as we got through the door and slowly looked around the store, as if she was looking at a beautiful piece of art. She took a deep breath through her mask and said, “I have missed this. Remember when I didn’t want to come the store? I didn’t know I’d miss it so much.”
We made our way down the few aisles we needed. Sometimes backtracking so we could stay consistent with the one-way arrows. Each item we collected seemed like a treasure to W. She delicately placed each one in our small cart. She happily pushed her treasures to the checkout to finalize her adventure. I could not see her entire face while we were in the store, but I could see the delight in her eyes. After watching her, it reminded me how important it is to appreciate the little things in life. The past few months so much has changed, but we can find simple pleasures in everyday life. I suddenly was in an almost giddy mood not unlike W.
As we walked to our car W looks up at me and says, “Wasn’t that great!?”
“Yes, it was. And Thanks for helping me today.”
W takes off her mask so I can see her smile and I do the same. It was just a little thing, but it meant so much to me.