Tom and I have never been ones to live inside the box. That’s probably why we decided to get married, have a baby and buy a house all within the span of one year. (Or, maybe we just don’t like to sleep?).
It’s also the reason why we agreed to take Jacob out on his first outing when he was just four days old. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the smartest idea in the world, but it was our one-year wedding anniversary, and party animal that he is, he wanted to celebrate.
For the next week, we took him out a few more times, always leaving him covered in his car seat to cut down on the risk of folks reaching in to touch his hands or face and infecting him with grown-up germs. After a week of fun outings, Tom went back to work. (Sad face.)
Because I had yet to figure out how to operate the newfangled contraption they call a stroller and still found the car seat more than a little intimidating, I dared not venture into the outside world alone. That left me with little choice other than to stay inside, adjusting to a new schedule of baby care, cooking, cleaning and climbing the walls. One morning, after scanning the cupboards, I realized I had two options: to serve my famous blend of canned pinto beans, instant oatmeal and frozen broccoli for dinner or to head out into the great outdoors by myself. It was a tough decision, but I opted for the great outdoors. (You’re shocked I turned down that dinner, aren’t you? I have mad willpower like that.)
I packed Jacob up and headed out the door to our local supermarket. It was the most thrilling moment of my week, as I went aisle to aisle, soaking up all the commercialism—“Buy six, get one half-off! What a deal!” Oh, and in case you didn’t know, there is a direct relationship between how long someone has been cooped up in their house and how easily amused they are. (On an unrelated note, this leads me to believe that people who enjoy reality television or “The Office” must not have left home since 1988.)
After checking everything off my list and soaking up as much fun as there is to be had in the supermarket, which is more than the average person suspects, I headed out the door.
Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief and offering silent congratulations to myself for making it through the trip without incident, things got interesting.
I had stopped the cart next to the car and opened the door. No problem there. I picked up my first bag to load it into the back seat, and then realized I needed to shuffle things around to make room. I did for just a moment … just a moment too long. When I turned around a few seconds later, my heart dropped.
Jacob was gone.
My groceries were gone.
The whole cart was gone.
Then, I spied it a few yards away.
This didn’t make me feel any better. It was moving. Full speed. Down a sloped parking lot. Towards a red truck. A red truck with an old lady in it. An old lady with a look of paralyzing fear on her face.
My thoughts went something like this: ASFLKFALKOIUWELKNSDFLIU, except they were much louder and less coherent.
I yelped—I didn’t have time for a good, self-respecting scream—and raced towards the cart.
As surely as I am sitting here typing this, I yelled “Your car! My baby!” to the old lady inside and yanked the cart back just as it touched her door. Mortified, I offered up a quick apology, then shrank back to the car to finish loading up the groceries.
As I buckled my seat belt, I told Jacob that we would never leave the house without dad again, and if by some odd twist of fate we did, I promised I would never park on a slope near an old lady in a red truck ever again.
The End. (Really.)