Not to brag, but there was a time in life when people thought I was fearless, adventurous, free-spirited. Maybe it was taking a semester off to live with strangers in South America, or flying off to Ethiopia for three weeks with a friend, or renting an apartment off Broadway right behind Dick's (just kidding). I loved the shock value in the decisions I made - I loved traveling by myself and discovering new parts of the world. Okay, I still love that, it's just not so much of an option at the moment.
So when did I suddenly turn into a 'fraidy cat? How can it be that someone who was willing to go just about anywhere, any time, be so fearful of loading three boys into a car and running errands all alone? Maybe it isn't fear so much as laziness. The thought of corralling them, the logistics... ugh, I'd rather stay in my sweats and read Curious George all day.
But today that ol' adventurous spirit came back. I decided I would take the boys to Target. Alone. I talked Lute through it before we left the house. I strategized each child's location and mapped out my route. Okay, not really, but it did take a lot more thought than just hopping in the car and strolling through the aisles by myself, or even with just one kid along.
With Eddie in the cart, George in the Ergo, and Lute by my side, I stuck to my list and filled my cart to capacity. Lute was actually a pretty handy little assistant - bending down with George strapped to me ain't so easy. Once all items had been procured, we made our way to the front. I was pretty much patting myself on the back at this point, impressed at the ease with which we accomplished our mission. All of my boys were absolutely lovely, apart from Eddie's tired moans, which I silenced by popping Puffs into his mouth for 45 minutes.
I started to unload the cart. Before I was even a third of the way through, the woman behind me loaded up the conveyor belt with all of her items. "Really?" I thought to myself, "Does she not see me, my three babies, and a cart full of stuff that is kind of hard to reach due to the child attached to my body?" No matter, I carried on with a smile. Then the cashier asked for ID for the wine I was buying. I very sweetly asked her if she wouldn't mind waiting until I was ready to pay. She rolled her eyes at the inconvenience.
As I opened my purse to grab my wallet, panic struck. "Oh no." I said quietly. "Oh no oh no oh no oh no." My palms got clammy, my face started to flush and I could feel pools of sweat forming. No wallet. NO WALLET.
"I don't have my wallet."
"Well, is it in your car?" the cashier asked.
"I have no idea," I said. The lady behind me huffed loudly.
"Okay, well, I'll set your cart aside while you go check... Do you know that your kid is eating paper?"
I looked at Eddie who was happily gnawing on my list. I snatched it away as the checker gave a knowing look to Ms. Impatience behind me and said, "Yeah, I didn't think he should have paper with ink on it."
"I'll just go check my car," I said, glaring. I swiftly picked Lute up and put him in the cart and bee- lined it for the Highlander.
God is good. There was the stupid wallet between the seats. Hallelujah.
When I got back in line to pay, the cashier had suddenly become cheery and helpful, even calling for someone to load my car for me.
"Do you run a daycare?" she asked curiously. That's a new one.
"Nope, all mine," I said with a smile. After a look of serious concern ("They are awfully close in age, aren't they?"), the usual questions, and my memorized answer...
"Man, you have your hands full."