Everyone was in good spirits, begging for EVERYTHING in sight, but not terribly disappointed when I said no to the majority of it. (cause I'm the meanest mom in the whole world, right?) Little Annie was sleeping soundly, buckled in her carseat in the top of the cart. We managed to get everything on our list (and then some) and were heading for the register, when my active helpers gave me the scare of a lifetime...
(and here's where I backtrack...about 5 years, to when Charlie was about 10 months old.)
I had him contentedly buckled in his pumpkin/carseat ready for an outing, but needed to run to the back of the yard to talk to John before we left. I set his seat on the little tykes picnic table for a moment while I walked back to the garden. His bigger sisters Grace and Mary knelt on the benches to peek in closer and "love" on their little brother. In an instant, his carseat was upside down in the grass, and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. A little scratch on the forehead, but he calmed quickly and seemed fine...mostly. The next day I took him in for a check to find he'd broken his little chubby leg. OUch. (That was one of my many nominations for Mother of the Year award.)
Before you're panicking (cause I did enough of that for all of us today), there are no broken bones here today...that I'm aware of. But boy did I get more than I bargained for at the Dollar General.
As we (myself, baby Annie dozing in her carseat, Charlie 5, Frank 4, Rose 4 and Lucy 3)headed for the checkout, I paused one last time to look at a "Clearance" sign that caught my eye. We were at the end of an aisle and Charlie (anxious to get his bubble gum to the checkout) took it upon himself to keep steering the cart onward. All the planets were aligning...as at that same moment, the other 3 jumped on the side of the cart, while the front wheels were caught on the display. The whole cart went toppling in the blink of an eye...I saw it in S L O W M O T I O N as little Anne's carseat toppled out onto the floor. turning her enire seat upside down, and nearly missing the edge of the metal display shelf. My heart was pounding in my chest...as I grabbed for her, but couldn't catch in time. Thank God the carrying handle was still up. Thank God she was still buckled in. Thank God she was okay. She was crying and startled, but not a bump or bruise in site. (and trust me, I've stripped her down a couple times already today just making sure.) She cried and instantly, Charlie was in tears too. Broke my heart, as I knelt down to show him Annie was okay, and remind him how quickly accidents happen. That mom doesn't give instructions/ask him to be careful, just for the fun of it. I was still shaking at the checkout as I held Annie (whose gummy grins and giggles helped to reassure us all that things were more than fine.)
As we drove away in the van, and I was reminding Charlie of his fall years ago, I remembered too that the same thing had happened to one of the other kids at Walmart years back. Can't remember anymore who was involved, but it was in the checkout line...baby buckled in a carseat, and wild kids climbing on the cart...pulled it over. Yep, it's coming back to me... Gosh, how many times could I have let this happen?!
Did you know they have a "Code" for things like that at Walmart. I remember being horrified when they announced a "Code something" over the loudspeaker system and paged a manager to the register. As if I didn't feel guilty enough...they were letting the whole store know about the screw-up mom on check-out 12. Ugggh.
There must be a lesson here for me somewhere...leave the kids at home? no, not possible. Perhaps just a simple reminder of the blessing of life/health, and how completely out of our hands those things are, even when we're trying our best. Perhaps a humbling reminder that as much as we think we have things under control, accidents happen. We can be grateful to God for his gift of guardian angels.
Thank you Lord for watching out for baby Anne today. Certainly the guardian angels here get no rest whatsoever!
our bedtime prayer:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love
commits me here.
Ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
(and protect us as we topple from high places.)