I had a terrible craving for a fresh salad for lunch yesterday. It might have been The Boss's lengthy and detailed description of the gourmet salad he crafted for himself on his lunch break yesterday. But I could NOT stop thinking about garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, and fresh broccoli on a bed of mixed greens. So I picked Li'l Empress up from Kindergarten and headed to the local grocery store. It's not the best salad bar in the area, but it fit the bill for me: close, inexpensive and already chopped and ready. Li'l Empress was duly excited because she knew some hot bar mac n' cheese was comin' her way.
We got in line, wherein Li'l Empress spied the Chinese take-out end of the hot bar and the "home-made, ooops, I mean Loooo Mein Nooooodles, Mommy!" were waiting for her. I asked her if she was sure she wanted that in place of mac n' cheese and she (I kid you not) jumped up and down in place, and said, "Yes! Yes! I'm sure, Mommy, I'm really really sure!"
Well. Okay then.
"Li'l Empress, please. It's not safe to jump in the store and you don't have to yell, I'm right here next to you."
I filled a little take-out box with her favoritest! noooooodles! in the world! and then she spied the cantaloupe. Oh, heaven help me. "Mommy! Mommy! Look! I would like some cantaloupe, too, please! It's my favorite!"
"Yes, cantaloupe is fine, to go with your noodles. But that's it. Okay?"
"Yeah! Sure, Mommy! Ooooohhhhh, KAY." She saluted me. Really. She did.
While I was assembling my salad and guess-timating how many artichoke hearts are in one serving, Li'l Empress tapped my arm. "Mommy? Mommy? Is that lady next to you a stranger?"
(Apparently the stranger-danger conversation really took. Now, every where we go, she asks if the person closest to us is a stranger. Every.where. Seriously.)
"Yes, Li'l E, she is a stranger. But if you would like to be polite and say hello, you may because I'm standing right here with you."
Dear Lady at the Salad Bar, I am so sorry for what that normally benign permission unleashed upon you. I do hope you can find it in your heart to shop there again. I promise, if I see you hanging around the salad bar on one of our ventures into this store, I will distract Li'l Empress's attention and unleash her onto some other unsuspecting customer. You have my word. Sincerely, The Gang's Momma.
Seriously. Ser.I.Ous.Ly... Are you ready for what came next? (I'd type it all together without a space to replicate how she spoke it all without a breath or a pause, but that would give you all a headache.)
"Hi, lady. I am getting a new little sister. She is waiting for us in China. When my mommy and daddy go to get her, she is going to come home and live with us. Because she is supposed to be part of our family forever and ever. And when she gets here, her and I will have a sleep-over together EVERY!NIGHT! in our new room. Daddy painted it green and pink and now all the pretty stuff is hanging up on all the walls. And Shaggy is in Thailand but today he's going to Cambodia and he's gonna come home and take care of me when Mommy and Daddy are in China to get my sister. She's gonna be called Brynna Rose and I am gonna learn how to feed her and ......."
At some point in there, I was able to put down the utensils I was using to make my salad and turn for a moment to gently place my hand on Li'l Empress's shoulder in an effort to stem the rushing tide. I could feel my already rosy cheeks start to flame and I was getting a little clammy. Between her loud exclamations and her overwhelming exuberance, I was starting to feel as if a huge spotlight had just been turned on in the Produce Department. Oy, this child of mine.....
But that sweet lady being accosted just chuckled and shook her head at me. When Li'l Empress was (finally!) done, the sweet lady bent down at the waist, THANKED Li'l Empress for sharing all that and said she was so very happy for Li'l Empress.
I explained, in a very brief summary, with cheeks burning, that she is very excited that our adoption process is coming to an end soon and would she please excuse my child's brain dump of exuberance. She proceeded to then "P'shaw" me and ask a few polite questions about adoption from China. All while we finished making our respective salads. She was so incredibly gracious and gave Li'l Empress a big smile and wished her great success in becoming a big sister.
It didn't stop there. Heh. Lucky me. We happened to be exiting the store at the same time and as we stepped aside to let this kind stranger pass us, Li'l Empress shouted, "Hey! Look Mommy! We know that lady! She isn't a stranger anymore!"
To which she very graciously stopped, turned, and said to Li'l Empress, "That's right, my dear. Now we can be the very best of friends. Have a lovely lunch with your Mommy."
You can't make this stuff up folks. And I'm very certain my cheeks could not get any rosier.