Walmart - if you've been there, you know about its odd, glittery attraction, though none of us would admit to it. You are also probably very much aware of that certain something that repels you even as you are being drawn inextricably into its web.
Ok, enough of the metaphors. What I mean to say is that though I go there every Monday of every week to do my grocery shopping, and though I thoroughly enjoy being able to get just about anything I can think of while I'm there, I absolute hate the process. The crowds on Mondays are typically of the 70 and up group - thus my affinity for that day of the week. But they, though usually polite, tend to move slowly, stand in groups chatting, and take hours to make decisions while blocking your way. I have decided though that this is much preferable to the rest of the week's crowds which tend to get younger and ruder as the week progresses. I hate going to Walmart so much that I make myself plan out the week's menu and make a detailed shopping list (sometimes even organized by rows!) so that I only have to go there once a week. If I have to go to Walmart more often, it is a very bad week indeed.
Well this past Monday's foray into the wilds of Walmart was one for the books. (Please notice that it has taken me two days to blog about this. Not due to being overly busy, just because it's taken me that long to recover). I'm not sure exactly why this particular day was so busy, but the store was jammed packed everywhere.
Now, all you moms out there know what it's like going to any store with your young children. I generally come home without a few items from my list because I've been distracted the entire time by constantly manhandling Ben back into the cart seat, answering Claire's constant questions, making sure she stays with me, and telling her again and again (and again), "No, you cannot have that. Don't put it in the cart."
So, after fighting through the crowds and wrangling the kids, I scan the fifty bazillion checkout lines to find only 5 of them being manned. Ok, so there were more, I'm sure, but it was a ridiculously small amount, considering the crowds. I patiently (not really) stand in line for about 20 minutes all the while trying to keep Ben from screaming and to keep myself from screaming while Claire continues to pester me for gum, candy, and all the other assorted commercial kiddie traps that they put in the checkout aisles. So, I finally make my way to the line, put all my stuff on the belt, trying to organize it somewhat so that the bread won't get put at the bottom of the bag with the canned goods, and realize . . .
I FORGOT MY WALLET!!!
Now, on any other day (and yes, unfortunately, this has happened before - all due to the whole diaper bag and purse issue), I think I would have been ok. Not today. Barely holding back the tears, I sharply barked at Claire to help me put the food back into the cart. The lady behind me in line, noticing my distress, asked me if I was ok. Um, no, not ok, but I managed a terse nod. I wheeled the cart to a random employee, asked if they could keep the cart for me while I went home for my wallet. The employee agreed while staring at the steam coming out of my ears, and I ran/walked the kids out of the store. I threw open the car door, put the kids in their seats, and slammed the door shut. Claire, ever sensitive to her surroundings (though I think the blacktop was probably aware of my mood at that point), was asking in a very worried voice what we were going to do, why we left, etc. After pounding on the steering wheel a few times and yelling "shoot" enough times to cause Ben to start gaily repeating it at the top of his lungs, I, in a very low, scary voice, told the kids that I needed it to be absolutely quiet while I drove home.
Looking back on this whole experience, I realize I should have just left and come back another day, but I was not about to go through the Walmart experience again before I had to. So, we drove home, and home is not close, as we live in East Bumble. About 10 minutes into the drive, while I'm still trying to breathe calmly and not succeeding, Ben starts to fuss in the backseat. In a warning tone of voice, I say, "Beeennnn...."
And then I hear a very soft voice say, "Shush Ben, I'm going to pray," and then she continues, even more quietly, "Dear Jesus, please help mommy to get home quickly and help the groceries be ok . . . " Her prayer went on a bit longer, but I couldn't really hear it. Needless to say, most of my frustrations just flew out the window.
Ok, I did say most, right? I was still frustrated enough that after the return trip to the store, the waiting in line again, the realization that the ice cream is melted, and the return trip home in the 90 degree weather, after putting the groceries all away (after hauling them up two flights of stairs) and getting my children's lunch to eat (an hour later than usual), I had to take Tylenol because my neck and shoulders were aching. I had tensed those muscles for about an hour and a half.
But, to see and hear my 4 year old call on the name of God when in a time of need (don't laugh, it really was a time of need), that is truly a blessing. And I would (almost) go through the whole experience again just to see it.