Jarrah just melted down completely, first at school and then at Trader Joe's, but I promised myself I wouldn't complain too much today after seeing the paper this morning. Photos of this adorable gal whose husband shot her face off, then killed himself. She just had a face transplant and looks like Jabba the Hutt but says she is incredibly grateful and happy. I thought about that for a while, and thought about her back story, and decided I ought to be grateful for everything today, grateful that I have a foot to press on my car brake. Grateful for having hair on my head. Grateful for my adorable moppet who likes to scream at the top of her lungs "I'm angry with YOUUUUUU!" while everyone stares at us. And grateful I am.
A surprising thing happened during the screamfest at T-Joes, for which I really was grateful. Jarrah was in the process of slamming the full cart repeatedly into the shins of the nice boy checking our groceries, and I was literally trying to peel her fingers one-by-one off the handle so I could move the cart out of harm (and shin's) way, and she was whacking me with her fists and screaming "DON'T TOUCH ME! I'M TIRED AND NEED A REST!" and then I remembered my promise to myself, took a deep breath and almost whispered (like I had the patience of angels) "I know you're tired. You can have a nice rest when we get home. Now let's step over here..." while I guided her as gently as possible to the other side of the counter.
And that's when it happened. The nice checker boy, who I really hadn't noticed until now, suddenly said "Sweetie? Would you like some stickers?" and Jarrah whirled around, face puffy and wet, and smiled like he'd just offered her a banana split. And, just like that, the crying stopped. Jarrah spent the rest of the transaction affixing stickers to her mucus membranes (she can't stop herself from gluing stuff to her eyeballs, mouth and nose) and I had a little chat with our red-headed friend.
Because he was red-headed, I noticed now. And very pale, with freckles. Tall and skinny. He's what I would call an "Orange Kid." I say that with huge fondness. I used to dream of growing up and marrying an Orange Kid, and having my own Orange Babies. That's not going to happen. He asked me if Jarrah had just gotten out of school. I nodded ruefully. He told me he had one more final, and that if he passed, he wouldn't have to write the essay. My heart was warmed.
Sam: What's the final in?
Checker Boy: Philosophy. That's my major. But I'll probably never get a job.
Sam: Ah, it was my major, too, for a while. But it was too hard. You know, my dad is in admissions at UCI Med School, and he always says they prefer Liberal Arts majors, because they're well-rounded and know how to think.
Checker Boy: Yeah? So there's hope for me. I thought I was going to do math, but that was too hard. (We both laugh. He looks over the counter.) Just the one kid?
Jarrah: But also Maine and Crick. And Braden and StarWarsAndAway.
Sam: She has some imaginary friends.
Checker Boy: My girlfriend is majoring in Child Development, and she said they're learning about how kids who have imaginary friends tend to be really creative.
Sam: (kind of wanting to hug him) Cool. I'm just glad they all fit in my car.
Checker Boy (to Jarrah): Sweetie, hope you have a nice afternoon. Good bye!
Sam: Thanks. And I really hope you ace that final. No essays in your future.
He smiled and waved. We did, too.
Earlier, on the way to Trader Joe's (following, as I mentioned, an even longer tantrum back at school) Jarrah had taken my temperature every few seconds. "Mom? Are you in a better mood now?" And I'd hold up my thumb and forefinger with a few millimeters in between, since I couldn't turn around. Now she asked me again:
"Mom? Are you in a better mood now?"
"I'm getting there. Getting there."