Jody pushed her half full cart down the aisle as her 18 year old daughter, Emma walked beside her. Emma would typically not be with her mother while she grocery shopped, but she was throwing one last high school sleepover before she graduated next month and needed to get all the necessary supplies.

They stopped in front of the shelf full of diapers, and Jody scanned for a moment looking for what she needed. She saw the pink packaging on the middle shelf and grabbed the 20 count of 4t Cinderella nighttime pull-ups with “extra overnight protection.” Emma’s eyes went wide when her mother tossed the package into the cart on top of all the other groceries. 

“Mooooom” Emma said through her teeth, quit enough not to attract attention. She took some other items from the cart and piled them on top of the diapers to bury them from sight. “What if people see those?”

“Who cares, Emma. You don’t think they’ll assume they’re yours, do you?”

“I’m the only one with you, mom. It’s just not a good look.”

“Emma, you haven’t wet the bed in 12 years, and you haven’t wet your pants in… well since”

“Mom!” Emma cut her mother off before she could say the embarrassing fact out loud. “No one in the store knows that. All they see is a girl with her mom, and the mom buying pull-ups. What are they supposed to think.”

“I would imagine they would think I was buying them for your little sister. Which I am. Don’t be so paranoid, hun.”

Emma couldn’t help but be fearful of people thinking less of her. She always had this desire to be perfect and have people think she was the best. She didn’t like that about herself, but it was just who she was. People’s opinions meant everything to her. Her mother knew that, so she dropped the topic and let the absorbent underwear remain buried in the buggy.

Emma couldn’t let it go, though. She was fixated on the fact that regardless of how deep she did the pack in the cart, a cashier would eventually see it. She dreaded the idea of a cute boy scanning them thinking they were hers, or a girl her age making judgments about her peer. She was so embarrassed by the idea that it actually felt like she was wearing them. Her face turned red.

“I don’t understand why you have to buy those stupid things anyway.” Emma scoffed. “Marah’s 11 years old, mom. She shouldn’t still be peeing the bed. She’s such a baby.”

“Emma!” Her mother scolded her. “That’s no way to talk about your sister. Plenty of children her age still have problems at night.”

Emma didn’t believe her.

“Come on, mom. I was 11 once. I know how it is. I didn’t know a single kid that peed the bed in the fifth grade. And if you recall, I attend LOTS of sleepovers.” Emma fluffed her hair back at that comment, asserting her popularity. “And tonight’s my final one of my entire school career. I don’t need these pull-ups dampening it.”

Little did Emma know, “dampening” was the optimal word choice.

“Well, sorry honey. I have to buy them.”