As Christmas nears this year, I remember last year's Christmas Eve very well. Pregnant and with two toddlers in tow, I went to Walmart. I can't remember why I had to go, but I know it was a needed trip. I needed some necessity. Well, of course, the store was packed solid with customers. I put my daughter in the seat and I put my son in the basket part of the shopping cart. There was no way he could walk beside me in that crowd without getting bumped around, lost in the shuffle or even kidnapped amid the din. An older woman employee with a think (I think) Polish accent and wearing plush reindeer antlers on her head came up to me and told me that I should not let my son ride in the basket. I ignored her and went on my way. Two more times she came up to me and told me that I should remove him from the basket. By the third time, I exploded.
I yelled, "Leave me alone, the store's crowded, he's fine and if he falls out I'm not going to sue Walmart!"
You know how in movies when someone does something like that, everything freezes, everyone stares and you hear a cricket chirping or a baby crying in the distance? Well, that's almost how it was in that Walmart aisle. I thought sarcastically to myself, "Now THERE'S a good Christian example on Christmas Eve."
To this day, I see that employee and am reminded of my behavior. Some might say it was justified, but I could have handled it better. I simply can't believe I exploded like that!
A more recent episode took place in Target. Just last week, I had all 3 kiddos with me in Target. The older two were strapped into the SUV shopping cart seats while baby boy was in his carseat carrier in the basket part. As I shopped, it was the usual reminders to behave. Admittedly, they were better behaved this trip than they have been in past trips. But, I got up to the checkout line and it was my turn at the register. My kids were tired, hungry and just sat in a doped-up stupor that young children get between activity and over-tired. The cashier says to me, "Wow! They're so well-behaved."
Do you know what I did? I didn't say, "thank you." I didn't smile at my children. I literally threw my head back and laughed out loud one of those sarcastic laughs. The cashier just stared at me. I said, "Did I just do that out loud?" I couldn't believe it! I back peddled with a few compliments about my children and left thinking that I could have been a better example of graceful motherhood.
We're human. We're hormonal. We're stretched to our very human limits with patience. We mess up.
At least they make for funny stories, good lessons learned and something to blog about.
Feel free to share any guffaws you've had!