My wife and I shop once a month at Costco, because we can't afford to do it more often. We like this monthly adventure, because we leave our two daughters, 12 and 16, home while we get to spend quality time together buying refried beans in bulk as well as feminine products by the gross. It almost passes as a date: over an hour long, just the two of us (and 17,306 strangers), we laugh and joke, flirt a bit, and eat all along the way. Can't beat that.
But today, as we arived at the Costco parking lot, I remembered that our rebate check was still back at home in our kitchen drawer. I told my wife, Mary, that one of us had to go back for it while the other shopped. Well, since my wife was rear-ended a few weeks back and her 1999 Toyota RAV was being serviced, she was driving a late model Jeep Cherokee. And, my wife had already staked her claim on this borrowed vehicle. So, she jumped back in the car and headed home while I scoured the acres of warehouse aisles shopping and waiting for my wife to return with our check.
Well, turns out, without all the banter and flirting, I can get my Costco shopping done solo in under an hour (though it's not nearly as fun). So, I called Mary, told her I'd be near the pharmacy and I waited.
That's when I saw a mom shopping with her two kids, a girl who looked about ten and a boy who was tall and lanky, almost his mom's height, probably about fourteen. I could see her, but not hear everything she was saying. She had her hands over her ears and was forcefully saying, "Stop it. Just cut it out!" as far as I could tell from reading her lips.
Her son came at her with a devious smile on his face, saying something that caused Mom to put her fingers in her ears and say "I can't do this. I just can't do this!" The boy seemed to be enjoying this. Little Sister walked away, arms folded, scowling. Mom couldn't see her any more. So, she came over to retrieve her daughter, "I can't get rid of him," she told her daughter. "So, we just have to deal with it." She was speaking of her beanstalk teen, I am assuming.
My first instinct was that Mom needed to show her son who was in control, that she shouldn't fall apart in public, that she needed to shift the power in the situation. But, then I remembered that I have been there before, a place where my daughters have gotten on my last nerve and it's all I can do not to duct tape them to a telephone pole. In those situations I remember not caring about what anyone thought. All I wanted to know was how I was going to make it to the end of the day without being arrested for what I was thinking, then wondering how I was going to make it until she would head off to college.
Then, Mary showed up, and I remembered why we left the girls at home. On with our samples of clam chowder and our Costco date.
image courtesy of ©MorgueFile.com/Prawny