I’ve been a mom for 7.3 years, but just recently I earned my mom badge, which is the badge you receive after surviving a truly awful parenting moment.
Let me lay the scene…
It was 6:30pm on a Monday, we were 10 days out from Christmas and 1 day out from a road trip to see great grandma. Joe volunteered to help set up a holiday activity at Cam’s school and so I was alone with the kids and my worries about being ready for Christmas–gifts for the kids, cards and gifts for my colleagues and bosses, teacher appreciation, etc. etc.! I was almost out of time.
That’s when I decided to beg the kids to be good and patient through a short trip to Target. I promised the better they behaved the quicker it would be. And mayyyybe they would get a small treat at the end.
They agreed begrudgingly and not 3 steps in the Target doors did they begin arguing, complaining and touching things.
I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. I’m tired. I’m bored. I want to ride in the cart. I want to get out of the cart. Can I have one of these? *tosses something we aren’t buying into the cart. And on and on and on.
About 40 minutes later we were rounding the last turn. I genuinely had one last “frill” to purchase for the 3 people on my team at work. I was sniffing candles, Cam was in the cart acting like it was the worst day of his life. Then it began…
Demi was touching and pushing on a tall fuzzy rug on the opposite side of the aisle, it fell over, across the aisle and hit a shelf full of candles. I was SO lucky they only clinked and shifted. But that set Demi off crying and apologizing and hugging my leg while I was trying to finish the shopping trip from hell.
Then Cam said “I don’t feel good.” And I rolled my eyes, not believing anything was truly wrong, and told him we were a couple minutes away from being out of there.
I turned away from him to continue picking candles and Cam said, “Mama, I really don’t feel good.”
His cheeks were red and got up on his knees and said “I think I’m going to throw up.”
And the poor, sweet, sick kid just exploded with vomit. Mind you, we’re in Covid times, so Cam had a mask on and he also wears glasses. So the explosion went up and out the mask and glasses. He threw both down into the cart and proceeded to heave 3 or 4 more times through the bottom of the cart.
It was so sad, but I also didn’t know how to fix the situation. I looked in all directions for an employee in yelling distance. I totally would have yelled. But there weren’t any. And fellow shoppers were pretending they couldn’t see us (that’s the holiday spirit!). I then called the Target twice following the phone tree to customer service where it dropped my call. Eventually a woman with a cart swung by to tell me they let the cashier know to send help.
A young cashier arrived to this horrifying scene, at which point he was probably questioning his life choices. But he still helped… brought paper towels and a hand basket so I could transfer the items I STILL needed to purchase even under the circumstances. We took off Cam’s sweatshirt and mopped up his face and glasses. Then the clean-up guy came with his mop and supplies.
I apologized upside down and backward that he had to deal with the mess. I then told Cam not to get near anyone or touch anything as I held the soiled stuff in my left hand and shopping basket in the right. We awkwardly checked out and Cam said, “At least I feel better.”
Yeah, buddy. At least that!
That was when I earned my mom badge.
From there, the stomach bug swept through our whole house. That’s the first time since having kids that we have had a full family sickness. Everyone threw up for 5-6 hours and then we each spent a day achey with low energy. And it took a couple days for our appetites to come back. And, ultimately, we lived to tell the tale.