by Rhonda Schrock
It was a dark and stormy night. Well, actually it was a Thursday. The cupboard was bare and the small fry were threatening to mutiny. My husband, doing the “hard thing,” volunteered to stay at home with Little Houdini, the toddler, and “let” me go with the kids.
As I recall, it all went south over by the meat case. That’s where I ran into our next-door neighbors and made the grave mistake of turning my back on the mob. Mistake number two, as I soon discovered, was letting them have their own carts.
Done with the neighborly chat and ready to shop, I noted that they’d disappeared, leaving me alone sans cart. Muttering, I started on the list, keeping one eye out for any glimpse of them. Catching up in the chip aisle, I deposited my load, which they proceeded to divvy up amongst themselves, and tossed in a bag of Doritos.
A fight broke out when the youngest one proclaimed exclusive chip-carrying rights. The senior, wanting to demonstrate his authority/superiority, snatched them up out of Little Brother’s cart (cart C) and horked them into his own (cart A). In the melee that followed, son #2 saw his chance and darted in to pilfer the grapes from Little Brother, smuggling them into his cart (cart B).
Not even stopping to find a phone booth, I donned my “special suit (you know the one)” and moved to quell the protest. Then, leading the small sin-dicate in 1-2-3 order through the cereal aisle, I exercised my right as a parent to frustrate them utterly and said “no” to chocolate flavored sugar bombs, “no” to Fruit Roll-Ups, and a loud “no” to a plea for Pop Tarts.
I lost them again in ethnic foods. I didn’t actually notice until I was cantering through fruits and vegetables, carrying seven cans with nary a one of my three able-bodied sons – or their carts – in sight. Spotting the neighbors at the end of the aisle, I gave them a weak smile. I would have waved, but I was too busy juggling my seven cans.
When I caught up to them again in dairy, they were still playing hot potato with the chips. As son #1, cart A, made the umpteenth grab and streaked past the fish tanks, a lady standing close by snickered into the yogurt, and when I announced to those remaining that I was considering adoption for the whole lot of ‘em, there were outright guffaws.
Recalling my paranoia in earlier years regarding kidnappers, I laughed out loud. Where, I asked myself, is a good, old-fashioned kidnapper when you really want one? I turned my back for an extra 90 seconds just to give him plenty of time if he happened to be lurking. When he didn’t appear, I reluctantly collected the hooligans, trailing grapes through the baby food aisle, and headed for home.
Now you understand why I voluntarily “admit” myself to the local coffeehouse for regular “therapy.” Twice a week isn’t excessive; it’s the bare minimum. As for the sin-dicate, there will be an altar call when I get back from “therapy.” All little sinners are expected to repent forthwith. And regarding their father, next time I will “do the hard thing” and “let” him take them shopping for once.
Rhonda Schrock is the mother of 4 sons (ages 21, 18, 13, and 5). She is a working-from-home transcriptionist and also pens a weekly column for The Goshen News, appropriately titled “Grounds for Insanity.” You can see why. For more insanity, visit her at “The Natives are Getting Restless."