Thursday, February 24, 2011

shopping with kids; and getting more than I bargained for.

I'll start by (guiltily) admitting that I don't typically take my small kids to the grocery with me if I can help it. It's one of the few "outs" that I get nowadays, and I look forward to the peaceful aisles of the store as I shop for the things we need. Here lately it's just been too cold, too snowy, too icey...whatever...to bundle everyone up anyways. Today the weather was warming (melting things nicely for the next snowy blast) so I thought it would be nice to get my errands done with the kids, and not have to go this evening. I love our local Dollar General for "short lists" cause they have a little of everything, including toys to entertain the kids while I shop.

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.)
Amen.

3 comments:

j,j,andhsmom said...

We say that very same prayer at bedtime also. It's one of the first the kids ever learned, and one of my favorites.

I wanted to comment on you mentioning that you "guiltily" go shopping alone. Several years ago, my husband and I adopted a sibling group of three. We went from being a childless couple to having an instant family and we were completely overwhelmed (I'm sure you can relate, having had many twins!). I had gone from working at a job that I absolutely loved, to being a stay-at-home mom and to be honest, it wasn't the easiest transition ever. I can still remember, to this day being so excited about going to the grocery. I can remember allowing people in front of me in line so that I could extend my "alone" time even longer. I understand how wonderful those few moments of quiet and freedom can be! Now, all of my kids are in school all day, and I miss having them around. Life is always that way though...missing an old phase while learning about the new one! Anyway, sorry this is so long...I just wanted to let you know that I can relate to cherishing that grocery store alone time!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness Anne is OK. Things happen so quickly it can be scary. Thank goodness for guardian angels! Looking back, I am so grateful my children are healthy and have escaped harm so far. There have been some close calls!! I truly believe their guardian angels have helped them along the way!

Pam Kaiser said...

I'm pretty sure that is every Mom's nightmare -- we've worried that it will happen one way or another. Sorry you had to experience it.....I feel for you.

At least everyone's ok.... :)