People often ask what it was like going from three […]
People often ask what it was like going from three kids to four. I know the experience is different for everyone, but for me, going from three to four was totally overwhelming. Before we had the fourth kid, I felt like I still had some semblance of control over our lives.
Once Baby No. 4 arrived on the scene, however, that all went right out the window. I can’t keep track of anything; if it’s not written down, it’s never going to happen. And everything has to be written on the calendar or we have no hope of ever being where we need to be when we need to be there. Our house is a hopeless mess of single socks that will never be reunited with their partners. There are toy parts all over the place. I used to dress the kids in complete outfits that came together and matched perfectly. Now I’m happy if they’re wearing both shirts and pants when we leave the house. And if I’m wearing shoes that match one another—let alone my outfit—I call it a big win.
The two oldest kids had three weeks of winter break. Don’t get me started on this. They had 16 school days off; 24 total days off. And then do you know what happened? It snowed. Then it rained, which caused a flood. Then it snowed again. The entire next week the kids didn’t have a full day of school. Then it was a holiday. What I’m saying to you here is that my two oldest children went 32 days without attending a full day of school. That’s more than a month! Their constant presence in my house did nothing for the mess—or for my sanity.
Somewhere during the third week of break, I had worked all day and then loaded them into the car to head to the grocery store. We were in a hurry because, well, I feel like we’re always in a hurry. Even when there isn’t somewhere else we need to be, I feel like grocery shopping requires hurrying, so we can get out of Walmart as quickly as possible. It was Wednesday, so we had to get home because the 5-year-old had basketball practice, which was another reason we were in a hurry. Before we could get home to get ready for basketball practice, though, we had to stop and pick up “the littles” (how we categorize the youngest two kids) at daycare. We were in and out of there before anyone had a meltdown (myself included).
It was dark and raining by the time we left the store. I got the kids and all the groceries loaded into the car and went and put the cart away in the cart corral.
Oh, it is important to mention here that I go to the grocery store all the way on the other side of town. Why, you ask? Because I don’t like the grocery stores near our house. There’s a Walmart just down the street, but someone got shot there once—and even though it wasn’t me, I don’t want to go there. Also, the store is laid out opposite of the Walmart that I do like, so I get thrown off; it takes me forever to find anything. And, like I said earlier, I like to get in and out of Walmart as fast as I can. Especially considering I could be shot at any moment. So instead of going to the Walmart by my house (it totally sounds like we live in the ghetto, doesn’t it?), I drive 20 minutes to the other side of town. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been shot there, and that’s what I’m looking for in a grocery store.
I was feeling good. I had gotten the shopping done, and we were on course to get the littles and get home in time to get ready for basketball practice (and maybe even arrive to that on time). Look at me! I was killing it! We drove home, and as I went to get out of the car I realized what I’d done.
In my haste to get the groceries and kids into the car and out of the rain, I had left my wallet in the shopping cart.
I threw the baby at my husband and hurriedly explained that I had to go back to Walmart to look for my wallet.
All I could think as I made the 20 minute trek back across town is, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! How did I do this? Why am I always so scattered? Why can’t I remember anything? I was so, so mad at myself. Also, for probably the first time ever, I saw the downside to going to a grocery store that’s a million miles away. I just knew it was going to be gone. I just knew it. As I went through my head all the work it was going to be to get this sorted out and what a bummer it was that for the first time, like ever, I’d actually had cash in my wallet (a Christmas present from my dad), something told me I should call and see if I could talk to customer service. It seemed hopeless, but I decided to try.
I got someone on the phone and explained that I’d been to the store about an hour ago and had left my wallet in a shopping cart in the parking lot. “What does the wallet look like?” the guy asked. I described the brand new wallet that my husband had given me as a Christmas gift (adding insult to injury that I’d left it). “Ma’am,” the voice on the phone continued, “you have some good luck. Someone just turned it in.”
I couldn’t believe it. Someone had turned it in. Someone had found a wallet filled with credit cards and a healthy stack of cash and had turned it in. All of it.
In this world where it’s so easy to get bogged down with everything bad that seems to be happening everywhere around us, it is so nice to be reminded that there are, in fact, still good people out there.