Every time we wonder why we attempt it, yet each week we find ourselves there again--at Walmart with all of the kids. We say to one another after each harrowing episode as we drive back home, "Next time, you go and I'll stay at home with them."
Fast forward a week and the conversation goes something like this:
"We are out of milk, coffee creamer, paper towel, pepperoni, cereal, syrup. . .do you think we should head to the store this evening?"
And before you know it there are six people in the van in various states of dress, headed to Walmart. Not one of them wanting to go.
It was in this very situation that we found ourselves one evening this weekend. We'd been out running errands for some time but just as we were reaching the peak of crankiness, my Man surprised us with a nice dinner out-dessert too!
High on waiter-served dinner and chocolate cake we trekked into Walmart and visited a moment with the greeter, who always recognizes us and takes a good look to see what we look like "before" this adventure. He's very familiar with our "after" shots--it's probably an entertaining way to pass the time if you think about it. I wonder how many times each day he sees a fresh, hopeful mom enter the store with her children in tow only to see the same poor disheveled woman stomping out of the store teeth clinched, dragging a howling four year old by the arm with her two foot long receipt waving and her value pack of toilet paper precariously balanced on the mountain of groceries in the shopping cart.
After visiting with Mr. Greeter, we promise the kids, who have already lodged their protests, that with help and teamwork, this will be fast and painless. Unfortunately, by the time we reach the back of the store, but not the end of our list, that old familiar feeling is settling in..."Why are we here with everybody--AGAIN??"
We reach the end of the grocery section and turn to maneuver our caravan (a stroller and a fullish shopping cart and a 10 year old and a 9 year old and a 4 year old and a daddy and a mommy carrying a 28 pound one year old who has decided that she's way toooo cool to be pushed in a stroller-the one year old, not the mommy) through the clothing aisles.
Traffic had gotten a bit congested in this area so Darrin said, "You take this one and this one and go get the soap, I'll take this one and that one to get his football pants. Meet me up front." Agreeing, I set off at a clip and stepped on something which I didn't see because of the 28 pounder on my hip. I tried to step up higher to step over what ever it was but that only proved to worsen the situation. Down, down, down I sank onto what ever had tripped me up. Landing, I discovered that Kate had made a quick cut in front of me and was the object over which I had stumbled.
Stumbled sounds so "garden partyish" compared with what actually happened. I hit that concrete floor with such a thud that my Man stopped and turned to see what the noise was. I bought it big time. Right there in the middle of Walmart. Molly landed on me and never touched the floor. She was upset because Kate was upset, very upset. I had with my first step landed on Kate's ankle and in my attempt to step "over" her I stepped on her leg, then nearly landed on her.
We looked up to see that a crowd had gathered. After the choruses of "are you all ok?". One gentleman said, "At least you fell very gracefully."
Really? And what does one say in response to that? "Oh thank you, as I was in mid air trying not to land on my four year old and preparing to have my one year old land on my stomach while aiming my most cushioned part for the concrete, my greatest concern was that my technique was skillful." Bless his heart, he tried.
Before my Man was able to haul my form up from the floor, it was necessary to hand Molly off to a concerned bystander who had what appeared to be a one year old with her also. This poor little fella was very troubled over the whole incident and came closer to check on Kate. The drama!
As the crowd began to disperse, Cole came closer with a pink and white football jersey in his hands and yelling over Kate's screams said, "Hey guys, look at this, it's a GIANTS girl football jersey." We told Cole, with tenderness, I'm certain, to put the thing back and follow us.
Kate was fine. Molly was fine. I was fine. Appreciating our narrow escape from injury we left Walmart having commandeered our toilet paper and salsa, but having left our pride in the clothing section. I'm sure our friend, the greeter will take good care of it for us as he surely noticed that we were without it as we exited.
On the way home we renewed our vow for the 82nd week in a row..."Never again...all of us...Walmart...never ends well."