I didn’t realize why Sawyer volunteered to go to the grocery store with me until we got to the check out. I was speed-unloading the cart when I looked up to see him building a tower of produce, soup cans and ice cream (in that order because tomatoes make the sturdiest tower base, I’ve heard).
The week before I had taken Parker. He made a similar tower as the belt rolled towards the cashier but his seven year-old mind concocted something with cereal boxes at the bottom. His creation made it to the cashier before I could tell him not to make towers out of groceries, especially moving ones. The manager was one aisle away and came over, exclaiming over Parker’s tower. “This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in all my years in the grocery business!” he leaned down to tell my son. He asked the cashier to see if he could keep the tower together and the bagger to see if he could slide it into the bag just like Parker had made it. Parker beamed and the teen-ish, twenty-ish bagger and cashier took the task very seriously and we all cheered on the leaning grocery tower as it continued it’s journey.
We left the grocery store in the best of moods and Parker told the whole house about his tower and his celebrity status. Sawyer wanted to come home with the same story as his big brother to fulfill his little brother job.
But as his tower headed down the conveyor belt the cashier told him to take it down, it was about to fall, he would ruin all his mom’s groceries. He wouldn’t want to do that would he? And I saw the crumble. I saw his shoulders fold forward a bit and his top lip take hold of his bottom one and felt his hand looking for mine.
I certainly don’t expect every cashier to allow my children produce towers and cheer for them as they approach paper or plastic but what I saw happen with my boys made me think a lot about what goes on in our own life on a daily basis.
How many times do I hurry my kids along instead of encouraging them to do something neat that might take five more seconds?
How often do I make people feel like they did something fantastic instead of barely making eye contact and heading on my way?
Do I slow down enough to see what other people are really doing or do I just worry about what I need to do and how they might be in the way?
I know I’m guilty of knocking down towers and I want to do better at building them up. I want to be responsible for that smiley-faced kid riding the cart out of the grocery store, not the quiet one who would rather not come next time. I want to notice people and their intentions and do a decent job at remembering it doesn’t take much to make someone happy.
With a little practice and some good intentions I hope to keep a few towers from falling and encourage my kids to take the chance on building them in the first place.
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