Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at its peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.
Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.
Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).
The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.
Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.
Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.
Do you want your milk in a bag?
No that’s okay.
Do you want your watermelon in a bag?
I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.
Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.
The bag boy put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.
The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?
It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.
I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.
The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.
I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.
I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.