As the mother of a rambunctious boy, I take drastic measures to avoid taking my son to certain stores, specifically Walmart. Even during a quick trip, something will happen to make me regret taking him.
I’m very thankful for the accommodating Nana and Meme and my sister Amy for allowing me to drop off Raff before I go grocery shopping. They, too, have experienced the absurdity of trying to navigate through aisles with a wild child running rampant.
However, every once in awhile, a situation presents itself to be completely out of my control and I end up having to take Raff to the store with me.
One summer afternoon, Raff and I were enroute to a BBQ, when the host called me and asked if I could pick up some extra hot dogs. More people had decided to come over than she had planned for, and she was worried about running out. I happily agreed and headed in the direction of Walmart.
I pulled into the parking lot and then froze.
Oh boy, I thought to myself. I looked into the backseat to find Raff grinning broadly at me.
“We’re at Walmart! Can I get a toy?” He asked excitedly.
“No, we are only running in really quickly to pick up some hot dogs. But if you’re good, and I mean VERY good, then you can pick out a treat when we check out. But ONLY if you’re really good.” I reiterated.
I took a deep breath and opened my car door. Here goes nothing.
Once inside, Raff immediately noticed a woman getting onto a motorized shopping cart.
“Why does she get to ride on one of those? Let’s get one of those today, Mom!” Raff said as he ran over to the queue of other motorized carts.
“No, those are for people who have trouble walking. This way they can still get all around in Walmart to get their groceries.”
He argued back and forth a few times as we made our way to the hotdog section. Along the way I remembered that I needed to pick up some trash bags, something I kept forgetting to add to my shopping list. I turned onto that aisle and began to look for the brand I prefer.
The slot where that specific brand resided was empty, all sold out, so I started looking for another kind to purchase.
“Ma’am?” I heard a woman’s voice say.
I looked up just in time to see Raff climbing onto someone’s motorized shopping cart.
“Raff! Get off of that!” I said sharply. I ran down the aisle to where he was, just in time for him to turn it on and shift the cart into reverse.
He looked up at me with surprised eyes, as the cart started making a beeping sound.
“Raff! Turn it off!” I yelled. The noise startled Raff and in an effort to stop the cart, he ended up making it go faster and accidentally make a sharp corner – crashing right into a display of jarred dill pickles. I came around the corner, and looked at the carnage. If only the floor could have parted and swallowed me whole. If only!
Then the anger crept over me as I stepped over the strewn pickles and shards of glass to take my child by the arm, firmly, and pull him off of the cart. I turned around calmly, placed my trash bags in a random spot on the shelf beside me, and pulled Raff along towards the door. I stopped at the customer service desk, explained what happened and offered to pay for the pickles. Luckily she was extremely understanding and assured me everything was fine, and that I didn’t owe anything for the pickles.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I took Raff’s arm again and led him towards the exit.
“Mom?” Raff said in a soft voice.
“Yes?” I asked, looking straight ahead instead of at him.
“Can I still get candy at the checkout? You forgot hot dogs, ya know.”