I just got back from spending too much time, and even more money, at Central Market on my weekly grocery shopping trip. I blame it on the fancy cheese lady, who was so friendly as she handed out tiny samples of “goat cheeses from around the world!” with disarming dexterity. And the giant, shiny salmon fillets, “fresh caught!” then “frozen within 90 minutes!” and flown in from some utterly fantastic place I now forget. And the pork chops, which were gobbled up so quickly the last time I made them, I felt compelled to buy two packages to feed the five of us. And the helpful wine guy, who steered me toward the expensive bottle right before he told me that if it says “for sale only in Texas” on the label, that means the Texas winery didn’t grow their own grapes; they shipped them in from who knows where.

So I’m unloading all the groceries into my pantry, feeling grim and grumpy over my lack of will power, poor judgement, and the fact that I’ve now spent 75% of my two-week grocery budget on one trip. And I haven’t even been to Costco yet. Which means next week I’m completely screwed. Then I remembered with a cringe how my kids spent the second half of the shopping trip running up and down the aisles singing a song whose only lyric was “more candy!” Which led me to reason #2 why I’m a bad mother: how I’d just ordered them, in my best evil dictator voice, to go upstairs and play, since it was now 1:00 p.m. and I was hungry and couldn’t handle their crazy energy, even though they were being good and crazy energy is normal when you’re 3 and 4.

Low blood sugar. Messy kitchen. A week of beans with a side of grumpy husband to look forward to next week. Chaotic children. Estrogen throwing its hat in the ring too I’m sure.

And then out of nowhere my mind stopped and I remembered the story I heard yesterday about the new mother in the Ivory Coast who ran out of food in her home two days ago but was afraid to go out for more because of all the fighting right outside her door. And the picture I saw on Yahoo last week of the mother in Japan holding up her young son while this man in an astronaut-looking suit scanned the toddler for radiation. And the story I read two days ago about the woman who ran into the lobby of a hotel in Libya where a bunch of foreign press were staying and told how she’d been gang raped by 15 of Gadhafi’s soldiers. And the story in Rolling Stone this week about a boy in Afghanistan who was working alone in a field when he was senselessly killed by two American soldiers.

From all these thoughts, I open my eyes. I look outside, and it is spring here in Austin, Texas. I am now crying in my kitchen, but it is spring, and I am lucky. I am one lucky woman indeed.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”
— Leonard Cohen

© Amy Daniewicz

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