A sea of strangers flows around us, their tide trying to pull us along. My newborn is in his car seat perched precariously in the grocery cart. My hands are clinging to the cart handle. My husband is talking to my mother in law and then he turns to ask me something. I feel like I am reliving a game I used to play as a child where we sat on the bottom of a swimming pool and tried to talk to each other but couldn’t make out each other’s words, no matter how loudly we yelled. What is he saying? The harsh fluorescent lights illuminate this little baby who was so recently safely swimming in the dark. I am not ready to share this fragile being with the world. I can’t protect him out here. We continue our shopping trip and I’m drowning but no one seems to hear my screams for help.
Mixed media painting by Pat McPike (my fabulous mom)