One is So Not the Lonliest Number

It may be 3 or 4 days after the fact, but who isn’t always ready for a weekend recap?

Thanks for all who were so worried about Jaana’s stomach flu last week. After six straight hours of not holding down even a sip of water, she finally passed out from exhaustion and never threw up again. She also never had a fever. Now I couldn’t send her to school, because of the 24-hour rule and all. Sooo, instead we packed up on Friday morning and drove to Atlanta. After all, we just couldn’t miss her cousins birthday.

We drove 2.5 hours without much incident. Paxton didn’t sleep; and while he wasn’t at his normal full volume of 11 (does anyone get this reference? 10 points if you do.), he was really onery. As we got less than 30 minutes away, it looked (and smelled) like Paxton was poopy.

And then he started really freaking out.

We decided to stop at the Cracker Barrel to change him, and instantly saw the chaos of a Friday at lunch time at America’s favorite front porch. We proceeded to the women’s restroom (totally packed) and huddled around the changing table. Women piled in line like sardines.

One woman was by the sink yelling loudly to someone in a stall who she called Mother. It seems Mother was close to 100 years old and had dementia.

And she was trapped in the stall and couldn’t get out.

Her daughter (obviously very familiar with this type of situation) was yelling, “Undo the latch, Mother!” over and over again. When that didn’t help, she banged on the side of the door shouting, “It’s over here!” Wham! Wham! Wham!

At this point the other sardines started piping up, hoping to expedite the exit.

“It’s in the middle!”

“On your left!”

“She thinks it’s on top!”

The poor daughter, easily in her 60s, then let out an enormous sigh. At this point I’m trying to focus on Paxton because I’m trying not to laugh. And yes, I know how rude that is, but I just couldn’t help myself. It was an SNL sketch.

I put everything back into the diaper bag. As I grab the bag to sling over my shoulder, I see quite a spectacle out of the corner of my eye.

Daughter, in her capri cotton pants, white socks and sneakers is doing an Army crawl on the floor of the Cracker Barrel bathroom to get into Mother’s stall to free her.

I let out an “Oh my!” that I guarantee was audible.

I look at Jaana. She’s got that look on her face like she wants to laugh but is totally scared she’d get in trouble if she did.

I grab the kids and flee as fast as possible.

When we get outside, I turn to Jaana she keeps looking at me, unsure of what her reaction to all this should be.

With all seriousness I say, “Jaana. When you’re old and I’m really, really old, and we’re at lunch together at the Cracker Barrel, and I get stuck in the bathroom stall and don’t know how to get out…do you PROMISE to crawl on the floor to come rescue me?”

Like a balloon poked by a needle, Jaana bursts into the kind of laughter that produces hiccups and confirms, “Yes, I will!”

We needed that laugh after the rough night we’d had. I Iove how in that moment she saw that sometimes kIds have to take care of their moms, the same way us moms take care of them.

Although I’m sure Daughter would argue and would have preferred to lunch alone.

The rest of the weekend I barely saw my kids or my in-laws. I spent most of it under fluorescent lighting at any kind of retail store I could find. (Y’all know up here in these mountains the closest Wal-Mart is half an hour away, and the closest Target is an hour, right?)

I discovered this lovely little store near the in-laws home called Love Street. It was so my kind of store, and since it had been ages since I’d really shopped, I kept getting totally distracted. I’d be on my way to look at the cute jewelry but before I could make it over there I’d hear the kids stuff calling me. I was browsing purses, jeans, belts and shirts all at the same time. I found a rack of clothes that were between 30-60% off and got lost. After trying on a million things, I bought three cute tops that were all 50 or 60% off. Did I mention that I got to do all this alone? I haven’t been in a fitting room without a child in ages.

Later that night after the birthday party, I decided I was going to Kohl’s. After all, I only had one pair of jeans that fit me (praise the Lord!) and needed a new bra or two. (I know, TMI.) They were having a power-hours sale and were open until 11 pm! Oh yes, I stayed until the bitter end.

As they announced they were closing, I made my way to the one cashier that was open as she rung up a gentleman’s cart that had, I’m not kidding, almost $800 worth of clothes in it. The cashier had just one item in the whole stash that didn’t have a tag on it, so we had to wait about 5 minutes while someone woke up from a nap to go get a price check. Fortunately for me, in that moment I remembered that I had just downloaded an iPhone app that gives electronic coupons for retailers such as Kohl’s. So I found a coupon, they scanned it directly from my phone, and I saved an extra 15%! Take that, extreme couponers!

Saturday morning I got up and went to Target, because no trip to the Big City is complete without a Target run. I got diapers and wipes (standard), a cute pair of ballet flats (my first!) and a couple make up things. I was going to check out the clearance clothing racks and the shorts and swimsuits, but as soon as I made my way over there, I hit the wall. My retail threshold was hit, I couldn’t take another aisle, rack, red sticker or fluorescent light. I was done for. While I was in line checking out I looked for a Target e-coupon, but didn’t have one. Boo.

I think the best part of all this shopping was the fact I could focus on my mission and get it done…all without having to worry about potty breaks, diaper changes, snacks, Elmos or Nintendo DS’s. I certainly could have lived without any of it (don’t tell Greg), but the fact I could do it made it so much more exciting.

I love my family and I love my kids. To. Pieces. But I just have to tell you…there is nothing like being totally and completely alone sometimes.

God bless my amazing in-laws.

See ya next weekend?? :)