Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tea Party at Target

Kate originally wrote this post 3 years ago and it's my favorite thing she ever wrote. It's time to share it again. Because as as a parent sometimes I need to be reminded that I am all they have in the world.


I'm sitting in my car in the Target parking lot. Typing this on my phone -- thumb-typing -- before I forget anything. Because I totally will. I'll start the car and drive home or to school or wherever, and then I'll wake up at 2AM thinking, "God dammit, all that funny stuff happened and now it's gone."

Three cars are stalking my parking space. They're gonna be pissed, because I'm gonna be here forever. Thumb typing. And I have a Band-aid on my thumb which means I'm screwing up every word and my automatic spell-checker is making stupid suggestions.

An. E. Way.

So ten minutes ago I'm wandering around Target -- because I have none of the IHPs with me and time to kill. Plus, I didn't really need anything at Target. Just wanted to wander. Maybe get Lydia a T-Box. After all, she wasn't stupid enough to give up drinking for 46 days.

I turn down the school supplies aisle, my favorite. I have a thing for markers…I buy them all the time. I think it's because we do a lot of Sharpie tattooing in our house. Someday, when the IHPs are all inked up, I'll know that it's completely my fault. But, when they say, "Mom, will you draw on me?" I'm like, "giddyup pardner…" I always wonder what the kids' teachers think when they come in looking like a whacked-out David Beckham.

Anyway, there's this mom in the aisle and she is all up close and personal in her daughter's face, like she's looking for an eyelash in her eye or something. And her back is to me, and all I hear is this gritted teeth voice:

"You see those cameras up there? It's only because of them that I'm not spanking you or dragging you out of here. You're such a horrible little girl and I could just leave you here and --"

And then I turned into MEAN KATE and in my all loud-y voice, I say, "Hello!" and she whips around and I see her little angel staring at me all big eyed and totally not sure what's gonna happen.

[Now, I have to digress for a second. I know, all too well, that I have lost my mind with my IHPs. Definitely at home, sometimes in church, probably in Target. Sadly, I still remember one time when I was all up in McGee's grill just like this mom, and this older woman came up to me and gently touched my shoulder and said, really nicely, "just remember, you're all she has in the world…" and then smiled really genuinely and patted me, but not all patronizingly. Which of course made me cry, and that's normally not OK to make me weepy, but it's not like I was gonna do anything about it. Well, I did ask her for a tissue. And just like Mrs. Doubtfire or something, she produced this tissue like out of thin air. Well, actually she had one tucked in the edge of her sleeve, which was so great. And I think that's the law that when you're an old lady you have to tuck tissues in your sleeve, just in case. And that was like 7 years ago, and I still remember everything about that moment, and she was soooooo right and even though I sometimes lose my schmidt, it's never that far. And never will be. Ever again.]

So, at this point, I don't even know what's gonna happen. Because on one hand, I want to pound her into Sharpie land, and on the other, I want to be as calm and helpful and comforting and magic tissue-producing as that woman was to me all those years ago. But I really want to pound her. So I compromise.

"Hi. See those cameras up there? That's the only reason I'm not body tackling you into that lovely display of markers. Because I can, and I really want to. But, because I don’t feel like being arrested today I'm going to instead give you this" and I hand her my phone, which is my Precious and I love it. And as she reaches out all confused-like, I turn on Nice Kate and tell her the story of me and McGee and she gets all teared up…

And then I say, "This is my Precious. And she" and I point at her daughter "is your Precious. So we're going to sit over there and have a Tea Party at Target and we're gonna let Mom finish up her shopping and we'll just sit here the whole time."

So, Lizzie -- who I immediately began calling Elizabeth the Second so I could tell everyone I had tea with the Queen at Target -- and I got the cute dishes that they put right next to the picnic tables and we pretended to have tea…and every four minutes or so mom would walk by and we'd still be there, and I guess at some point she realized I wasn't going to leave with the Queen, because that's treason or something and I'm pretty sure you get your head cut off for absconding with the head of the monarchy.
Plus, she had my Precious, and I wanted that back...

Mom came back and she looked so much happier, and actually hugged me, which people who know me know not to do. So I kinda hugged her back and then I super hugged Queen Elizabeth the Second.

And THEN…I said something about going to buy a T-box for my friend and she SCREAMED. And then I sorta forgot that I invented the word T-Box -- or maybe Lydia or Danielle or someone but I'm taking credit because it's on my list of things to add to the MDR -- and I thought "hmm, maybe I should have body slammed her" and she said "did you say T-box?" and I said, "yeah it's something I, ummm, read somewhere…" because I'm sure as sh*t not gonna say I made it up. And -- and I am soooo not kidding I thought I was gonna flip out -- and she said "ohmygodthere'sthisawesomewebsitethatiloveandtheytalkaboutt-boxesallthetime!!!!" and I was like, "I LOVE that website!" and then she introduced herself because now we're totally best friends and then I lied and I didn’t tell her my real name. So I guess we can't be best friends, huh?

So I totally (knowingly) bought her a T-Box and she totally (unknowingly) made it the best day in the history of ever because she was talking about me, to ME. It was like going to your own funeral but you're not dead and everyone is happy and not crying and they're all saying AWESOME stuff about you but they don't know you're in the room. So, yeah, it's not really anything like a funeral. But still AWESOME!

So, Mom of Queen Elizabeth the Second: Hi. I'm Kate. Nice to meet you. Remember, you're all she has in the world.

Oh, and I totally bought more Sharpies.

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