When A Mother Lies

I did something awful. I feel ashamed. If you know me, you’re probably expecting a joke or a silly pun right about now. Not today. I feel like a heel.
I brought Avery with me to the drugstore to buy eye drops (and shampoo and a DVD and hairspray and milk and…I apparently need to get this impulse buying thing under control). As I stood in the skin care aisle (I also bought cleanser), Avery picked up the various bottles and tubes and chattered away. Then she spontaneously hugged the guy who was busy stocking shelves. She’s a hugger my girl. And clearly very tactile. 
All the while, a young female clerk was casting glances our way. At the check out, that same clerk was organizing the magazines. She asked, “How old is she?” An innocent question, but I hate it nonetheless.  I understand why people ask. ALL THE TIME. They’re simply trying to figure Avery out. She looks five, but acts much younger. “How old is she?” is an attempt to make sense of this disparity. 
“How old is she?” asked the clerk. “She’s four,” I answered. 
Four? Four?? She’s bloody well five. I’m aware she’s five. I just made cupcakes with five candles to celebrate the occasion. 
I lied about my child’s age to protect her? To protect myself. 
Does it matter what a teenage drugstore clerk thinks? Why do I care? I felt ashamed of myself the second the lie passed my lips.
Sometimes it’s just easier to lie. An explanation requires energy and emotional fortitude. I have neither spare on total strangers. Those who matter in my life, know our story. They know Avery is five. And they think she’s amazing.

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