My daughter was in the hospital delivering a sweet baby girl. I had charge of my two grandsons. Everything was going smoothly until I mentioned we should go shopping for their new sister. Arlo is five and thought this was a great idea. “And while we’re there we can get me a Captain America outfit.” River, who was two, smiled and clapped his hands. +
Thinking it was so early that no one would be at the stores, I didn’t put on a bra. I threw a sweater over my top and off we went merrily. Their minivan was at the hospital, so I planned to drive their dad’s truck. By the time I got both boys hoisted up and into car seats, I was sweating. “This will be a great shopping trip,” I promised myself.
We arrived at Walmart and took up two parking spots. This truck didn’t look so big in the driveway. I didn’t give it another thought as we sped off in a cart to get our gifts. We found a few little stuffed animals for their new sister. It was now time for a Captain America search. I was only reminded of that sixteen times in the toy aisle. There wasn’t a single Captain America toy or shirt or anything in the store. By now I’d scoured every aisle and I was getting irritable. (Mental note: do not drink three full mugs of coffee before going shopping with two boys…ever!)
River had broken into the box of donut holes that I’d thrown in the cart. He was covered in powdered sugar, but very happy. I popped one in my mouth which left a trail of sprinkled white powder all over my bra-less navy shirt.
That gave me energy to take one more look around the six toy aisles as Arlo suggested. I caught sight of myself in a mirror. I should never have left the house in this condition. I looked like I’d just escaped from an asylum. Not only was my navy shirt dotted with white powder, my hair was smacked on my forehead and sweaty wet. I was trembling from not eating breakfast. I had a grimace on my unwashed face. I popped another donut hole in my mouth.
I suggested we go to another store to shop. “Without buying me something?” Arlo moaned. I popped two more donuts in my mouth. He was crying by the time we checked out with his sister’s gifts. River was still eating donuts.
I thought I was a good negotiator with kids. It seems I’m out of touch. I wasn’t prepared for the wailing and my sweating. I must have looked rabid as I shoved the pink elephant and rattles on the belt to pay. I had envisioned a lovely little trip with the boys. Now I was sweating profusely and fighting with a five- year-old. “No, you can’t buy anything here. We’re going to Target to find Captain America stuff,” I reasoned. “It’s not STUFF! It’s real! He’s real and I really, really need a cape now.” the tears fell. The lady at the check out smiled at me. “We all need a cape some days,” she said.
By the time we got to Target, I was praying to St. Anthony to find a cape and shield. We finally did find a bright red and blue Captain America shirt in men’s large. Seriously? What kind of man would wear that? There were rows of them, but no children’s sizes. More tears fell.
I tried to reason with Arlo that when Halloween comes, we can buy an entire costume of Captain America. There just weren’t any at the stores yet. Now he wailed. “But I need it. I really need it today.”
My phone rang in the midst of my anxiety attack. It was my oldest daughter who asked immediately, “What’s wrong?”
I can’t find Captain America stuff anywhere.” That set Arlo off with it’s not STUFF again.
“Put him on the phone,” she said.
“Don’t be sad. This is a happy day. You have a new sister and Tata is going to send you a Captain America outfit right now.” His face brightened. He dried his tears. “Really?” he asked in disbelief.
“I just bought it on Amazon and it will be there in two days.”
“Two days???? That’s forever!”
I told him that’s the fastest I’d ever seen a Captain America outfit arrive. Santa must have put a rush on it. “Santa? I thought you said Halloween was a good time.” He corrected me.
We almost left the store when Arlo spotted an Army jeep towing a skidoo. “Pleeeeaaase, Gigi,” he moaned. I bought two just to stop the moaning. River was pulling his out of the packet as Arlo skipped down the aisle.
By the time we arrived home, I was tuckered out. The boys took off to the playroom. I was sitting on the couch when Arlo arrived at my side. “What happened to you back there, Gigi? You were off the edge!”
It seems I wasn’t just over the edge, I’d fallen off the edge. He looked so concerned. Curls fell just above his blue eyes as he patted my hand. “It’s okay now, Gigi. When my Captain America cape and shield get here. I can fix you.” He zoomed off to join his brother.
Two days later UPS brought the Captain America outfit and a PJ Mask set for River. There were capes and masks galore.
Everyone was happy and I got fixed.