Today around noon, I decided to make a run to the bank. At noon. As in the time of day when all of the people who are working are able to run errands. As in the time of day when most stay-at-home-moms know that they should, well, stay at home. Even at that time of day, I was surprised at how many people were there. (Apparently, today is a big bank day. Who knew?)
So as I stand in line, I begin to watch the other people there. (A favorite pasttime of mine.) I saw the women in their corporate skirts or slacks, hair put together, full make-up. They looked nice. I began to squirm a little bit as I looked down at my faded jeans shorts and baggy Gap t-shirt. I imagined how quiet their office must be. Oh sure, there are office noises and phones, but I am almost positive that no one ran up to them in wet pants declaring they wanted to go potty but forgot.
My attention became focused on one very attractive woman. She had gorgeous brown hair that had just enough curl to give it bounce, but not so much that it looked “styled”. She looked so very together in her business-wear. At one point when she was on her cell phone, she noticed me looking at her. I smiled (busted) and turned away. I could still hear her conversation. She was deciding with a friend where they would meet for lunch. I thought about the peanut butter & jelly sandwich that awaited me at home. (Although, if I really wanted to splurge, I could get McDonalds.)
After I turned away from her, I caught a glimpse of a tired looking woman. She had on casual clothes. Her hair was up in a clip (though, a lot of it had fallen since she first put it up.) You could see she made an effort at some make-up, but she certainly didn’t resemble anything glamorous. Her purse looked like it held enough to fill a small suitcase. I thought to myself, “Good lord, please don’t let me look as exhausted as her. That woman needs a break!” I felt a twinge of pity for her when the toddler standing next to her began to tug on her shirt accompanied by “MommyMommyMommy” as if it were just one long word.
I did a double take at the woman. Sure enough, I knew her. It was me. My reflection. (I made a mental note to make a hair appointment as soon as I got home.)
I looked back towards the woman who caught me staring at her. This time, I caught her staring at me. We shared a feeble smile before my attention was pulled away by Little Diva.
As the pulled together, enviable business woman walked past me to leave, we both gave each other the once-over again. Then simultaneously we said, “I envy you.” We both laughed at the irony and went on our separate ways.
But I thought about her the rest of the day. There I was envious of how professional and attractive she looked. I pondered how wonderful it would be to interact with adults all day long. I fantasized about what a lunch at a real restaraunt (complete with food that doesn’t come in a paper bag) would be like. I wanted to look as fresh as she did at noon.
What could she possibly see in me that would make her say that she envies me? The t-shirt that had a bleach stain on it? The no-style hair? The bags under the eyes from being up too late and waking too early? The shorts that not only had seen better days, but were at least a size bigger than I wore pre-baby?
As I thought about it, Little Diva came running up to me and threw her arms around me with a heartfelt “I love you Mommy!”
Suddenly, I wasn’t so envious of someone else anymore.