Sometimes, when one is the mom of a few little children at one time, one loses a “sane” perspective and begins to think only of survival…Let me explain…..
I was the busy mom of three children--four years , three years, and one year old. Keith and I were living in Mobile, Alabama, although I was from California and he was from Tennessee; therefore, I had no grandparents nearby that I could ask to watch the kids while I ran errands. We lived on a dirt road in a small white house on a lot that had very recently been a turnip field. So neighbors were not readily available to help us either. When I had errands to run, or children to take somewhere, it was a “family expedition”--everyone and all their paraphernalia came along.
On one particular hectic day about two in the afternoon, I was headed back home with one sick child and two tired ones—all safely strapped in their car seats. We had made all the necessary stops except one--maybe the most important one--the stop for diapers. I pulled into the “last-possible-chance-to-stop” grocery store and looked in the back seat. Oh, no! They were all conked out. Of course! It was nap time; and once again, everything had taken longer than I had planned. I couldn’t wake them up--they had just gone to sleep. And I knew that short naps make short tempers. Waking them up would be setting myself up for a very difficult afternoon.
Sitting in a parking space and pondering my plight, I was desperate! I realized that I had parked in a slot not too far away from the door. A young store clerk had come out to gather up a few grocery baskets and was standing right in front of my car. I jumped into action--here was my answer!
“Excuse me,” I said, as I locked the van, “could you just watch my kids for just a minute? All I have to do is run in and pick up diapers!”
She looked a little bewildered, then confused, like somewhere in the back of her mind she was trying to fit this situation into the “always please the customer” paradigm. This was definitely out of the box and probably not covered in her employee training. I sensed her mental tug-o-war.
“I’ll be right back.” I seized the moment. Carpe diem!
Running into the store, I found the diapers quickly. (I could have found the aisle blindfolded.) Grabbing the Pampers package, I dashed to the Express Lane. No checker. I looked around. I waited. I was feeling more than a little annoyed. Why have express lanes without clerks?
It was then that the manager appeared. He didn’t seem to be having a good day either, but he hurried over to check me out. Together we gave the term “express lane” a whole new meaning.
I expressed my opinion, “It seems that your clerk should be keeping an eye on her aisle.”
He expressed his own frustration, “I’m sorry ma’am, but some crazy lady has my clerk out in the parking lot being her babysitter.”
Simultaneously, we made the connection. We looked at each other and both blushed. He blushed because he realized that he was talking to the crazy lady.
I blushed because I was the crazy lady.