I had just gone for my first run outside since the snow began to fall. It was invigorating and I felt like this was the start of a beautiful evening. I had let the stress of the day seep out of sore muscles like chocolate from a diet. First slowly, then all at once. I went to pick up E from after school care where I joked with her keeper about dinner today. Apparently tonight was destined to be HyChi, aka Hyvee Chinese. With a BOGO coupon and 900 extra calories to use, I made my meal decision. We head to pick up the littlest and off we went to Hyvee.
Where the E asked to push a little green Customer In Training cart around, and I obliged because normally I leave those for beer purchases. Nothing says Rockstar Mommy like a miniature green shopping cart pushing beer. Unfortunately tonight, I took HJ out of her carseat and allowed her to walk which meant that SHE wanted the green cart. Finally, E just let her have it as we watched the tantrum start to brew. We made it all the way to the produce section and then back to Dairy in the “Oh look how cute she is” phase. Then we found another green cart. I figured each of them could have one and we could proceed to Chinese and get the hell outta Dodge. Except that HJ wanted that cart too. Unfortunately for her, her little two year old self couldn’t quite figure out how to push both carts. Mom and sister be damned, she was going to push both carts. So she initially tried it pulling one and pushing one and promptly ran herself into the yogurt case. Which she decided she needed and added the yogurt to the cart. As she did this, I lined them up so that she could push them at the same time and I could walk backward in my running shorts around Hyvee. Let’s just say the song “Blinded by the Light” was written about me and move on. So as I am navigating backwards around the store, people are laughing and shaking their heads remember what having a toddler is like. All is going well until we get to the Chinese station. A nice family has watched me “Back my Ass” all the way around the salad buffet and have realized that today life is a damned struggle. HJ wants to be picked up. So I do thinking we are done with the cart curfluffle. We are not. I put her down. She dive bombs into the pizzas poking away at the filmy layer on top. The lady explains as she stands with her two high school children than she remembers those days and that we should go first. If she taught her kids nothing, it was patience. So we order, and HJ rams the carts into the glass case and heads back to Hulk Smash the pizzas again. The nice lady behind me grabs her and tries to hold her while I finish the order. She hangs surprising well with the stranger. At this time E realizes that HJ is getting attention from strangers and begins showcasing her dance moves. She almost takes out a passerby with her savvy spin. Then the man explains to me in somewhat broken English that I must “Gwet de coopin off faebook, you know dat?” So off I search for a coupon for BOGO Chinese because I am that girl. I get my food with and audience and send E to put the little green demons away. The nice young man behind us helps her and I begin to pay for my 10 items while HJ flails and almost kicks me in the head. I almost drop my child and as I explain to the man ringing me up, I should have 4 orders of Chinese. “Oh, the coupon only allows two so we need to ring them separately. So I go to get my wallet out again to realize E has it, because she is being helpful. I explain stealing Mommy’s wallet is not helpful, Mommy needs that. As I pay again for my second round of Chinese, the nice young man who is holding on to his hunger pains in order for my family fiasco to be done, he asks if he can take my groceries to the car. Which I declined, although I shouldn’t have. I struggled to hold the kid, milk and 2 other bags the 50 feet or so to the car with a slobbering cracken trying to bust open the ship. Meanwhile E is behind me complaining that the four plates of Chinese she is caring are unbearably heavy.
I texted my husband to ask if he could come home a smidge early since I worked darn hard for his meal. He was unimpressed. Maybe the references to popular song hits of the early 90’s will help set the mood for how stressful this trip was.
Really though, to the mom who understood that I was doing my best, thank you. To the her kids who were hungry and don’t have kids of their own yet, thanks for being patient and giving E and I something to talk about at dinner. We are so thankful that others, specifically those we don’t know, shine through with leadership and selfless giving when they don’t have to, and could have easily ate their dinner while we struggled.