My darling James accompanied me to the commissary today to help get groceries. Since I hadn't been in quite some time, I anticipated a very long trip. I really hate grocery shopping, but I also didn't think I could pull together dinner from ketchup, an onion and Chips Ahoy. Well, actually I probably could have, but no one else would have been okay with it, but me. So off we went. After traversing 6 or 7 isles of the store, our severely undersized shopping cart was full. There were two choices, 1. buy what fit in one cart and try to manage making dinner from laundry soap, paper towels, shampoo, zip lock baggies, and other mostly non-food items. (I always get food last so it doesn't get squished under the other stuff or warm while I finish shopping) or 2. Get another cart.
So, against my better judgment we went and fetched ourselves another shopping cart. I carefully explained to James the finer points of cart driving and instructed him on the four main laws of buggy safety. 1. Don't run over mom's heels. 2. Don't run over anyone else's heels 3. Don't knock down any displays that Keesler might make mom pay for. 4. See Rule #1. So I give him the empty cart and tell him to stay behind me, but not too close. NOT. TOO. CLOSE. To my joyous surprise, James maneuvered the cart very well. He said “excuse me” to nearly everyone who got in his way and he only said “move it” to two people. And to one of those I had to mentally applaud since it was the rude skeeze who rushed into the companion bathroom just ahead of James and I shortly after we arrived at the commissary, by herself. But that rant is for another day. We managed to traverse several isles, with no ill events and my confidence in James’ cart maneuvering abilities was blooming into down right pride. I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s growing up. How nice is it that your youngest child is finally mature enough to genuinely help with the shopping. Yes Alex, I will take ‘Great Mom Moments” for the win”!
But, if you know me at all, you know that this would be the exact moment when karma likes to treat me to a valuable free life lesson. Today’s lesson was as follows: “Woman who turns her back on a zealous child pushing a shopping cart for the first time, will soon be limping and angry”.
No sooner had I smiled in pride at my son’s mad buggy skills, did he get a little hitch in his giddyup and slammed into my heels, as I leaned over to get a package of chicken breasts out of the meat cooler, doing mach 76. (I might be exaggerating a little there. It may have only been mach 52, but it felt like mach 76).
And here is the point where I exhibited my superior parental skills because I was somehow able to hold in the string of extreme profanity which was flashing through my brain like a 150 foot neon electronic billboard. Words that I’m not sure I even know the definition of were swirling around in my head. They might not have even been real words. I’m certain that my face first blanched sheet white, then heated to tomato red, as my body reacted to the immense restraint I was exhibiting by holding my tongue. After all, there were many people standing well within ear shot and I wouldn’t want to embarrass James by drawing attention to his error. No. At that moment, I would have much preferred to drag him behind the broccoli stand and beat him with the asparagus bunches. But I did neither of these things. Instead, I limped a few feet off to the side, more out of the sight and hearing of the other patrons and turned to James, who incidentally was now 8 feet behind me, and calmly said “Come here son. Sloooowly.” And not surprisingly, he did approach slowly, however; I think it was his self preservation instinct that had kicked in, and not because he was being particularly obedient. I leaned in close to his face and in the quietest voice I could muster, said “Son, you have been doing a great job pushing the cart, but when you just rammed my heels at 36 mph, I honestly saw stars, and I might have glimpsed Jesus too.” He thought that was funny. But my goal wasn’t to amuse him. My goal was to unequivocally discourage him from EVER EVER EVER doing it again. I harnessed my inner saint and resisted the asparagus beating and the crying fit I was tempted to have and just let it go with my calm reminder that running over mom’s heels was categorically and unequivocally prohibited. And then we went over the four main rules again, just to be thorough.
As we limped on, I, having learned my lesson well, thank you karma, you freaking heifer, made certain that James and his offending cart were ahead of me or next to me, when possible. For the rest of the shopping trip, James’ buggy managed to stay clear of my heels and our last stop was the deli for some ham. When we rolled up to the deli, James had managed to maneuver behind me again, and at the last minute, my “fight or flight” senses kicked in and I stepped to the side of my cart, just as James, who was ogling the deli selections, slammed into my cart hard enough to send it careening into the banana stand. As a wave of pure adrenaline surged through my system, I felt a sensation that is probably shared by folks who have very nearly missed being mowed down by a steam roller. I would say that karma may have had pity on me, but we all know that heifer doesn’t roll that way. I think what may have happened is when I saw Jesus earlier, he took notice of my uncharacteristic lack of rage and profanity and he gave me a little loving nudge to preserve my back side from a second drone attack. Thank you, Jesus. I love you too. And thank you James for assuring that my life will never lack for excitement.
Moral of this story is, I am revoking all of James’ shopping cart privileges until his father accompanies us on a grocery run. I will give them each a cart then stand back and watch the fun.