I am a mother of four. Most of the time I make it look easy. I smile my big toothy smile. I am conscious of my brow and try to keep it looking free of stress and wrinkles. I try to keep my mama crazy eyes in check.
If you are a mom, you know what crazy eyes are.
I move around looking as though I don’t have a care in the world. No one can say that I am not cool and collected. There is one place, however, where I am not always able to keep up the facade.
On the rare occasion when I am forced to take all of the kids with me, I am fully aware in advance that I will scream, curse, stomp and cry before we leave the store headed for home.
Before we enter the store, I line all four kids up and give the usual lecture: no running, no screaming, no fussing, no hand-to-hand combat and for goodness sake STAY TOGETHER. I am taking four kids with me and I am required by law to bring four back home.
At this point they all have on their sweet, agreeable faces but it is all a trick. Well, maybe not a trick because I believe that they begin with the best intentions. There is just something about that red, bulls-eye that makes everyone lose their minds.
I am no exception. I often find myself coming home with new curtains and I am not even sure how it happened. I didn’t even need new curtains.
By the time I enter the store the kids have already ran into no less than three people, tripped over the entrance rugs and commandeered a scooter-cart and are riding it around in the customer service area. At this point I still believe there is hope.
We begin to walk the aisles which takes three times as long with my little helpers. No we don’t need Oxiclean. Yes I too saw it on tv. Yes I know it boosts your detergent’s power.
You know it is not really necessary to touch every single item on every single shelf. Yes I see that woman has a cotton candy maker in her cart and no you can’t go live with her. Yes, I am sure she IS the best mother ever.
I am just here for the barest necessities. Obviously we are in dire straits or all of us would NOT be in here right now. Finally I check the last item off. I turn to them to gloat and proclaim myself the dinner. I didn’t even scream at anyone.
The problem is the boys have money saved up and would like to spend it. They smile sweetly and give me those eyes. It is only fair. They do have their own money and they aren’t old enough to drive.
Okay Lets go to the toy section.
Once those words leave my lips there is no taking them back. The tidal wave forms and we are racing off to the forbidden section. Those toys do not stand a chance. Every item is being mauled, tested and adored. Employees stare as though the riot police may be needed with all of the commotion going on at aisle six.
After a good 20 minutes I tell the kids that it is decision time. You pick a toy or you leave here with the money that you came with. Minus two bucks for my trouble.
It is like they are choosing their first house, or college or religious preference. You only have one hundred thousand toys at home. Why is this so difficult? By now I start to sway and my eyes glaze over.
That’s when I see him. The fuzziest, cuddliest Chewbacca that I have ever seen. He even makes authentic sounds. I am smitten. One of the boys places his hand on him and I quickly steer him towards the Darth Maul Lightsaber. He doesn’t understand this toy. He didn’t sit in the movie theater as a child and watch this masterpiece movie. It was magic.
Finally after I threatened a melt down in the middle of the store, they were able to make their selections. Now we can actually leave. All I have to do is suffer through the check out procedure. This is where a couple of them will attempt to operate the closed cash register lane. Others will climb onto the conveyor belt in an attempt to get scanned. At least one will crawl through the legs of the people ahead of us in line.
Let’s get this over with.
Imagine their surprise when I stack everything onto the belt and my very own little Chewbacca goes rolling up the line. All of them looked at me.
He is coming home with me. I had better not see one grubby hand on him either. He is the only reason I still have an ounce of sanity right now.
The cashier tried to stuff him in a bag, but no, I will carry him, please. As we exit the store people are staring at me. Only this time it is not because I have four rowdy, unruly children. It is because I am a grown woman walking out, holding a stuffed Chewbacca.
Do you have four kids, Sir? Then don’t you DARE judge me.