Little Moments: Commissary Paper Bags
I am discovering there are times when seemingly little things all of the sudden hit me with nostalgia so strong that I stop for almost a whole minute. (That's like a thousand years in mom time) First, it was our refrigerator right after we moved in to our new house on base. Today was something that I hadn't thought about for years: why I pack the commissary bags the way that I do.
My parents met in the military. They were at Scott AFB and met at a "Sadie Hawkins church dance" (which now that I am an adult, apparently means I am old enough to know that what mom meant to say was a singles night at a BAR)! I do not consider myself a military brat because by the time I would have been old enough to understand the constant moving, my parents were retired and we started our new lives in Connecticut.
The only thing I knew about Connecticut was what I experienced every holiday season when we made the journey to be with my grandfather who lived alone. I remember the smells of the house and the back yard with a hill perfect for sliding down (one that he made sure to wake my mother up after the first snowfall so that we could go sledding for the first time ever in our lives). I remember moving in with my grandfather and adjusting to how gruff he could be at times. He liked things a certain way and I can understand that. My mom got a job at the Naval Base nearby and so we would do our shopping at the commissary like usual.
My mother always went with the paper bag option no matter what. We had a ritual of grocery shopping, getting the paper bags home, unloading said bags, then folding them neatly and stuffing them inside other bags like the image above. To this day, I have subconsciously done this whenever I forget to throw my reusable bags in the back of the van after finally getting the kids into their car seats.
Trust yourself and you will create wonder for someone--anyone really
-Mil Art Mom
So for whatever reason, on the day I took this photo, I realized not only that I still do this, but that I ALWAYS do this. That seemingly insignificant, everyday moment had lasted so long in this crazy memory of mine and I thought of my grandfather. I thought of how lucky I was to have gotten to know him before he passed. How even though he was gruff he had a fun playful side that was rarely seen. That I helped him put his slippers on everyday when he could no longer do it. That I grew up in my mother's room. That my grandfather had actually built that house himself. That I hope we can meet again someday.
Another thought that came to my mind was to the future. What little things will my kiddos remember about our times together? Will they remember how hard mama worked to provide a more comfortable life for them (eventually, hopefully)? Will they remember the days daddy made sure he was there because he knew there were times he just couldn't be? It's something to consider putting into practice. Calming your mind to be still and wonder about how you get to shape how these little humans feel about the world. You, who second or triple guess every decision you have made throughout the day. You who stare at the ceiling every night questioning if you impacted them positive or negative. You, Mama and Daddy. This is the daunting, ever-changing, anxiety producing, kick you in the heart kind of thoughts that I think all parents have.
I want to propose a different mindset. Think of how my grandfather, whom I only knew for a few years of my life and was mean at times, still provided me with one of the most memorable childhood experiences of my life: sledding down the hill in the snow for the first time ever. The moment he chose to wake up my mother and my mother's decision to wake us up despite our schedules resulted in a life-long memory. Trust yourself and you will create wonder for someone--anyone really-- but especially for those who you spend long amounts of time lovingly agonizing over.