I have a Sunday morning ritual that serves me well. I drop my two teenaged daughters off at church early on Sunday morning so they can attend their own Youth service and be present for their respective volunteer duties. Then I head to Wal-Mart to hunt and gather the weeks groceries. (And before you begin, after the shopping trip, I dash home, drop the groceries, grab Fiddledaddy and son, and head back to church in time for the 2nd service.)
This has several benefits. A) Most importantly, I employ the “divide and conquer” mode of warding off the inevitable stress of Sunday morning getting-ready-for-church drama. The two teenagers get their drama out of the way by SEVEN PLUS CHANGE A.M. Then we are generally gone before Fiddledaddy and Junior even stir. B) AWESOME PARKING SPACES can be found early at Wal-Mart and NO CROWDS, and C) having the teenagers serving as volunteers alleviates most of the guilt I might feel since I no longer serve in the children’s ministry.
(And for the record, I now serve on the Design Committee. Which is why words have been scarce in this neck of the woods over the last few weeks. What with Christmas sets and decorations to be made for the church. And further for the record, I don’t so much design, as execute, what the Design Committee envisions. So in essence, I’m on the Execution Team at church. I like this term far better.)
(I will expound on our latest project later in the week. When I’m quite certain that what I actually executed, you know, actually works. But it involved painting and power tools. Two of my favorite things.)
Anyhoo. On this particular Sunday morning, I needed to take young Jensen with me to Wal-Mart. I avoid this scenario whenever possible because, well, if you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that if some disaster occurs at a public outing, Jensen is usually present.
Besides, I do love grocery shopping alone. Just me, my coupons, my color-coordinated shopping list (arranged by aisle), and my neurosis. Do not judge me.
Jensen is a rather high-maintenance, high octane, high energy sort of boy. Wal-Mart provides SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES for inappropriate. And he’s fast now. Really fast.
We made it through this particular shopping experience without too much peril. He was perturbed that I wouldn’t allow him to purchase a vat of fine point markers, and in giving me a hard time, I may or may not have grounded him until Jesus returns. But, we were about to make our exit unscathed.
The cart was loaded to the gills, and after I checked out, I asked him to commandeer the cart while I fished my keys out from the black hole also known as my purse. He took off like a race horse out of the gate. With the fully loaded cart before him. I yelled (yes, I yelled in Wal-Mart) at him to stop running, as I envisioned an elderly patron rounding the corner just as he were to crash into him/her. He stopped at the corner, turned to look at me as I hurried my pace to take over the driving duties. Then he hunkered down, turned the corner, and made a mad dash toward the exit.
This is when everything seemed to move in slow motion. He was aimed at the closed automatic exit doors. Doors that I know from experience do not spring open in the heat of the moment. I yelled (again), and to his credit, he did try to stop. And he failed. He crashed right into the sliding automatic doors, still in the closed position, knocking them completely off the track. For just a moment, I was glad that I did not have wine in the cart.
A rather horrified 9 year old looked back at his ashen mother. A mother, who did consider for a moment, exiting through the fully intact entrance doors and pretending not to know the child who just broke Wal-Mart.
He apologized a good million times, and I made him march himself back into Wal-Mart to tell an employee what had just transpired. She smiled, like it happened all the time. I was rather hoping for security to be dispatched. The security that carries an actual GUN. But I don’t think we have anything like that at our Wal-Mart. Pity.
On the bright side, I think we’ve come a long way since Wal-Mart trips of old. At least this time I didn’t make the news…