After three weeks off to nurse his elbow, Tim texted me after his doctor's appointment to tell me that he was headed back to work tomorrow morning. He was on his way to work to drop the clearance paperwork off with his supervisor. He said that he wanted to head out after that and do a bit of hunting this afternoon.
"I'll go ahead and run to the store and get you lunch makings right after work then," I replied.
Usually the place is packed but it wasn't. When I got to the deli, I was the only customer, which was very nice. There was no one at the counter, but I waited, and it wasn't long before a woman came bustling by. "I'll be right with you. We're short handed, and I'm doing the deli and the bakery. "
"You're fine. I don't mind waiting." And that was the truth, too. Everyone is short handed these days and the people who are there don't need a bunch of guff from the customers.
The woman bustled back over and said, "What can I do for you?"
I asked for two pounds of the turkey, sandwich sliced, and divided between two bags. "I hope I don't sound like one of those customers..." and she laughed. "No, you don't," she said. "That's a pretty common request."
And so we chit chatted while she sliced my turkey, and then while she sliced the cheese. She said that she really enjoyed being busy. "What else have I got to do? My kids are both in college. They need the money."
She mentioned that her daughter had decided on a school in Connecticut. You could tell she was struggling with that. She said "If I want to go visit her, it's three days of travel time added on to the length of the visit, and that's a lot of work to miss."
Wistfully, she said, "She's not so good at communication," and trailed off.
I recognized that. Those are hard years to be a parent. Your kids are running full tilt to claim their independence and the last thing they want is their parents. So I said, "It's a tough time. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you raised them to be independent, and now it's time to watch them fly."
She said, "You're right."
I said, "If it is any consolation, my youngest lives overseas, and I haven't seen her for nearly 3 years. I know that she's happy. That helps, but still..."
We talked about our girls a bit, and when she handed me the packages of meat and cheese, she said, "Thank you."
I knew she wasn't talking about my purchase.
"Good luck to you," I said,
I finished my shopping and I was glad for that little conversation. I've been missing my daughter a lot.
"You just have to keep reminding yourself that you raised them to be independent, and now it's time to watch them fly."
Sometimes I need to hear me say those words out loud too.