Thursday, October 27, 2011

The one where I cry on the floor of Walmart

I wish I were joking.

Typically, I don't go to Walmart. I made an exception today; I just needed one thing, and Walmart was closer than the grocery store. It was close to lunch, and we'd had a busy morning.

I go into Walmart, get my one item, unload the girls and head home.

As I'm getting Hadley out of the car, I notice something terribly wrong. The stroller is not in the back of the car.

Panic sets in.

I fasten the girls back in their car seats and tell them that we need to pray. Hadley answers by giving me the sign for "truck" (one was driving past us) and Brynne answers by giving me the sign for "drink".
Yes Hadley, Mama is praying that our abandoned stroller doesn't get hit by a truck too. Brynne, Mama will definitely pray that there's enough wine in our house tonight.   
On the way back to Walmart I'm imagining how I'll tell Brad.
So, you know that $650 stroller I just had to have? You know, the only stroller we own? Yeah. Well, I decided to give it away to someone at Walmart.
We arrived at Walmart, and I went back to our parking spot.

No stroller.

I get the girls out of the car, take them by the hand, and begin walking. We see a shopping-cart-bringer-inner-person, so we head over to chat with him.

He hadn't seen our stroller.

Brynne decides she doesn't want to walk, so I'm carrying her and holding Hadley's hand.

[Side note--I never take the girls into any store without the stroller. Not. Ever.]

I'm praying as we walk into Walmart that I can act with grace, because I feel myself crumbling.

I'm walking too fast. Hadley trips and face-plants into the asphalt. Great.


I pick her up, apologizing to her profusely.

So, now I'm carrying both girls into Walmart. One in each arm.

I head strait to customer service, where there is clearly no stroller present. As I'm telling the woman behind the counter that I'd driven off without my stroller, I burst into tears.

She goes to get a manager.

Hadley demands to get down, and begins to throw a fit.

So, there I am, sitting on the floor of Walmart, right in front of the automatic exit doors, attempting to pacify Hadley, holding Brynne, and I'm crying.

Not just crying. Ugly crying. Sobbing-tears-snot-running-down-my-face kind of crying. So much for grace.

This lady stops to ask me if I needed help. She opens a just-purchased box of crackers and gives some to Brynne and Hadley. Clearly, sobbing on the floor of Walmart brought me to an all new low, where in I would allow a complete stranger to give my children food.

There were three manager-type people trying to figure out where the stroller was. They assured me that if it was taken, they have security cameras in the parking lot. That made me feel a little better.

Then, the head manager guy comes around the corner pushing our stroller. Hallelujiah!

I had no dignity left at this point, so I did what any thankful, dignity-less person would do--I ran over to that Walmart manager and gave him a big hug. So not like me. I'm pretty sure I left snot on his shirt.

I hugged cracker-lady too.

Someone walked my stroller to safety in the lawn and garden section, answering Hadley's prayer, protecting our stroller from getting hit by a truck.

And as to Brynne's prayer about drinks, the wine fridge is fully stocked. Can't wait till Brad gets home from work. There's a bottle of red zin with my name on it.

In leiu of tattooing a reminder across my hand, check out my steering wheel:


Brad Jenkins said...

I had to skip immediately ahead to the end to make sure everything was ok before going back to read it. I didn't think this is how I would find out about it, but had to be sure.


Lauren said...

That stroller reminder is hilarious.

And this reminded me about how I have to post about my brutal both-sets-of-keys-to-both-cars-are-locked-in-our-van-at-the-mall-and-it's-7:30-at-night-and-we-have-no-way-of-making-the-25-minute-drive-home-unless-we-buy-a-brand-new-car-seat-and-get-someone-to-give-us-a-ride fiasco that happened this week.

I was almost crying, too.

Cyndi said...

Oh dear! Lesson learned...... for now anyway :)

Julia said...

Husband, I would never inform you that I gave away our stroller via blog post. I'd wait for you to notice it was gone and then claim that it was stolen out of the car ;)

Lauren, that is a story that definitely needs to be told! Looking forward to reading it!

Mary Cavalier said...

Julia, I was at Walmart earlier - sorry I missed you. At least you know the cracker lady opened a newly purchased box of crackers - that makes it a little bit better :-) Thankful for the kind person who pushed the stroller to safety. Can't imagine you sitting on the floor and sobbing anywhere - let alone Walmart - but it is when we are at our lowest and weakest that God is mighty. What a lesson for the girls too - turning to God and seeing how He uses others to help us.
I have had similar experiences when the kids were little - but they weren't even with me. I lost my check book - left it at the checkout and it wasn't there when I went back and then tried to get into a car in the dark parking lot that wasn't even mine -same make, same color. By the time I got home I was crying so hard that Tom couldn't do anything but hug me (he got the snot on his shirt). Good ending though - the check book was there, a manager had picked it up but had not made it to the customer service counter yet.

Allison Bodine said...

This is my nightmare. I haven't even been brave enough to venture into a grocery store with the girls alone. So far, I have need husband to push cart and me stroller. I am sure that I will have to brave it at some point, but I am not looking forward to it!! So happy that you got it back!!

Sara said...

Gripping post, Julia! So glad the stroller was recovered. Last spring I left my purse (with everything in it!) in a shopping cart at Target. I had the "cart cover" on the child's seat and my purse was hiding under there. I didn't even realize it until I was looking for my phone on the way home. Talk about panic! But, praise God, some nice, honest woman had returned it to customer service. It was such sweet relief :)

Jen said...

oh my goodness. I'm so glad that the stroller is okay. And that there are still good people in the world that return things like really expensive strollers.

oh, and you reminded me to add wine to my grocery list!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Oh, Julia...I am sending you the biggest hug!!! I do love that you were able to write about this so quickly, and with such reflection. I'm impressed how much grace you maintained, even during that crazy incident. And I'm so glad for your happy ending! :)

I had an almost-crying-in-the-entryway incident at Staples early this past spring. I was walking inside with the girls for a super quick errand. We hadn't had much experience walking hand-in-hand at that point, and I hadn't perfected (relatively speaking) my method of getting both girls out of the car. B was standing in the lot, supposed to be holding my leg, while I unbuckled A. Before I could do anything, B started touching the back tire of the car. I knew her hands were dirty, and figured I'd wait until we got inside to wipe them. Before we made it in, she started rubbing her face and hair...dirty, nasty, tire grease!!! We made it inside and I was digging for wipes. In the meantime, I was afraid A would run out the door into the parking lot while I was trying feverishly to wipe her sister.

Long story...but by the time I made it over to the copy center, the poor guy took pity on me. He wouldn't let me pay for my copies. "It looks like you have your hands full," he said. I appreciated it, of course, but it also made me feel more pitiful! HA!

We've all been there in some form or fashion, I imagine! :)

championm2000 said...

Okay, I thought the story was priceless. Then I saw the sign!!

Bless your heart! Glad the story had a happy ending!

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I would have cried too!!

Olusola said...

From one twin-mama-with-a-mucho-Benjamin-stroller to another, I feel you. I was starting to feel the panic growing as I read your post; thank God for the happy ending (and personalized bottles of zin :) )