So I'm going to let you all in on a little event that happened to us today. I'm not sure why I feel like laying it all out, but I guess it's just therapeutic to write about it and be able to laugh a little. It also goes to show that we're just not perfect, our kids can have rough days despite our training and it's just the nature of motherhood. So...you can all be encouraged that this wasn't you today because believe me..in the moment, I wanted to walk out of the store and leave myself there with the brood.
Errands aren't usually a problem for me. Sometimes I have issues with one of the children and we need to take a visit to the car to deal with an attitude. However, you don't have to do that often for them to know that you're serious and that you really will deal with them if they don't listen, so usually, my children are fairly pleasant. Normally I get a lot of comments, mostly positive, some weird looks but I know we're quite a crew. Not only do I have three small children who are fairly close in age but, I'm very pregnant and I have all boys. So the usual comments of having all boys, being busy, and am I having a girl, come quite often but they don't bother me much. I know this can bother some moms but, really I know I'm sporting a little army with me everywhere I go so I don't blame others for their curiosity or even their disdain at times. It's just the way it is. But in general, my boys usually do just fine on errands and I feel I can take them anywhere with me. In fact, I enjoy taking them with me places.
So, I decided to run a few errands today. Nothing unusual. I needed to head to the fabric store to pick-up a bit more fabric to finish a blanket I'm working on for #4. I thought the craft store would be the hardest stop so we went there first. I mean, what kid doesn't LOVE looking at craft stuff. And what a disaster for me if I don't have a plan. We started off well and I reminded the boys of the rules before we got out of the car. Isaac basically spelled it all out for me..."No running, talk quietly and obey mom." Great! We all understand each other. I spied a cart and decided it would be best for me to put Joshua in it. We went in. We picked out our fabric. Both older boys listened fairly well and we were out of there in no time. Success!!
On to the next stop. I needed to go to Trader Joe's but decided to stop at the mall play area before going there since it's right across the street. Sometimes I like to surprise the kids and just pull-in there first when they're not expecting it. Of course, they were elated. "You just wanted to bless us Mom!" Isaac squealed. Well, yes I did. Plus, I won't be doing too many of those stops after the new baby comes, at least for awhile, so I'm trying to fit in some "blessings" in these last weeks. In they all trekked, happy and ready to play. I again reminded them that when I told them it was time to go that they were to have cheerful hearts and attitudes. They played. They laughed. They all slid down the slide together holding onto each other...all three of them. I wish I had my camera. It was great. And I merely sat and watched for almost an hour. Bliss for me. Once time was up, they happily put on their shoes and headed out. Success!
But something smelled...bad...and I realized it was Joshua's diaper. And then I noticed I didn't have any wipes. Wonderful. I had to do something. I found a diaper in the car and some napkins and did the best I could. I could clean him up better when I got home. We just had one more stop. Meanwhile, the older two started fighting in the car. I knew I smelled a rat. I should've known that trouble could be around the corner. Yet, I got them calmed down, Josh in his seat, and across the street we went.
Trader Joe's is my happy place. I love it there. If I just want to smile while on errands, I go there and we all get a snack from the sample area. Therefore, the sample lady who is often there, knows us well. I'm the big pregnant lady with three little boys. But I'm digressing. The point is that Trader's is just a wonderful place for me. I don't know why. I just love all of the different cheeses, yogurts, gourmet items and I especially love the prices for certain things. It just makes me feel at ease when I'm there. We started out our trip well. I even splurged a little and got the boys some banana chips which are way too expensive but fun for an extra treat. They were gurgling with excitement. And I was feeling good. I knew I was already getting a few stares with my burgeoning belly and mini army but I was all aglow. As I turned to check the price on an item, all of the sudden, I heard a very loud crash.
Within a split second, I had whirled around to see our cart lying on its side, Caleb pinned underneath and Joshua sprawled on the floor. The loud thud I had heard was Joshua's head hitting the concrete. Both boys were screaming at the top of their lungs and people were scampering away from me like mice. I'm trying to pick them both up off the floor amidst screams and I'm not having much success (remember the large belly). The sample lady, who knows me well, came over to help and got the cart off of Caleb. Luckily, she didn't recoil from me like everyone else. I swear, it was like we had the plague. My middle child can scream quite loud and it takes some time to get him to calm down when he's upset. I've got the baby in my arms, Caleb in a puddle on the floor and Isaac is checking with everyone to make sure they're all right.
I had to do something fast. Suddenly, an idea came to me. The bathroom. Just get to the bathroom so you can comfort everyone and calm the little boys down. I begin to make my way over there and the herd of people parted like the Red Sea. Every step was labored and I didn't know if we were going to make it to our refuge on the other side of the store. Caleb was getting more upset because I was literally dragging him, while lugging Joshua, still screaming, in one arm.
Once I made it past the fruits and veggies aisle, I started to get more than the frightened, scampering looks and people were just staring me down. I'm sure they were all thinking, "Someone tell this lady to stop having children!!" You see, those people didn't know that my children had just taken quite a huge fall and they thought that I was just dealing with tantrums. But I was too determined to care. I continued to trudge my way over to that bathroom as I could see it gleaming at me in the distance. It took for.ev.er to get there. And the thought that kept running through my mind was, "Wow...it's been quite some time since I've had a Walk of Shame. I guess I was due (in more ways than one)."
The walk of shame is what Steve and I call it. It doesn't happen often and usually it's due to bad behavior. But you all know what I'm talking about. You've got a screaming child that you can't deal with properly in public, mostly due to the child's hysteria, so you must remove them from the situation to properly address the problem. Nevertheless, you must walk through a sea of people to get there, who are all staring at you like you're a lunatic. That, my friends, is what we call The Walk of Shame. And today, I had another, labored, trudging, outright embarrassing, Walk of Shame.
After what seemed like an hour and many stares/shakes of the head later, we made it to our refuge, shut the door and all huddled on the bathroom floor. Yes, the floor. I know, at this point, I was just shameless. And I'll admit it right now, I didn't even wash their hands before we left. It had taken all of my energy to get to that bathroom. I couldn't do another thing but simply comfort my boys. So, I calmed them all down, pulled myself together and then determined to finish the shopping trip. And that's what we did. We walked out of that bathroom and finished our shopping.
Events like this remind me that no matter how good the plan, or how well everyone may be acting, trouble can always lurk around the corner and you never know what you might be getting yourself into. And it's good to experience these things as tough as they are. I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. I never dreamed Caleb could tip that cart over on accident like he did. The kid doesn't even weigh 40 pounds yet. But God gives us grace in the moment and helps us navigate our Walks of Shame. I was pretty embarrassed but knew it would pass and that I'd be able to go home and laugh about it all later.
Maybe Super Mom would've been able to handle it differently. I don't know because I'm not her. But what I do know is that God gives us humility in many forms. Some are easier to swallow than others. A lot of times mine come from an experience with one of my children. Today was no exception. But as a wife and mom, these things shape me and help me be a better Christian.
And it's not Trader's fault. Still without exception, even with the Walk of Shame today, Trader's is my happy place. But I've learned my lesson: next time, I'll just be sure to remind Caleb not to grab onto the side of the cart and I won't let that cart out of my sight, not for one split second.
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