the Target woman I envied

I pull into the Target parking lot, already sweating. I get out, picking up my Ergo carrier and strapping it around my waist. I unbuckle Milo from him car seat and heave him out of the car, flat against my chest. I strain to latch the carrier. It’s uncomfortable already, but he’s still a little too small to sit up in the cart, and his car seat is too heavy to lug around.

There’s a Cartwheel deal for an extra 20% off clearance clothes, so I push our cart to the women’s section. I’m not sure what I’m looking for. Maybe another maxi dress. To replace the ones I cleared from my closet when tidying up because they don’t bring me joy. This one will probably have the same fate… Hanging there, collecting dust, pulled out and put on once in a while, but thrown on the floor because it makes my hips look too wide.

As we wander, we pass a full-length mirror. I see us. My hair is pulled back with a headband bought at a fair trade store in the Midwest but made by artisans in Nepal. My earrings are watermelon pink dangly leather teardrop-shaped earrings. My tank top is made in the United States through fair labor practices. My sweet Milo is strapped to my chest in a carrier, quietly gnawing on whatever his mouth will reach. Finally, I have become the Target woman I envied. Headband, earrings, curly-haired baby in a carrier and all.

I thought it would bring me more happiness than it has. My eyes look tired, and my eyeliner is rubbed out of place from sweat and that nap I tried to take earlier today. I don’t like my baggy eyes. My headband was chosen because I woke up and gave a two-minute effort to doing my hair. There’s parts of it growing back after brain surgery, and that short part gets wavy in the humidity. I don’t like my frizzy hair. My earrings are cute. Very cute. But they were bought in a fit of “all the trendy women I follow on Instagram own these, so I should, too.” 

Milo is undeniably cute. I am crazy about him, and I think he might be one of the “easiest” babies I’ve known. But even with his ease, I get frustrated that he won’t sleep on command. I get frustrated that he screeches when I finally sit down to read my new book. I thought being a mama would meet all my needs. But it has reminded me of my selfishness while giving me this sweet little being with near-constant needs of his own. 

So, while I look the part I thought would make me one billion times happier than I was six months ago, it hasn’t. And I’m reminded again — my mind seems to require these frequent reminders — God is the only answer forever and ever. 

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