I have a thing for Target. Besides the fact that they have bulk sizes of Sharpies and kid gloves and scarves for ONE DOLLAR - which is awesome because then I don't lose my ever lovin' mind when one of the IHPs lose one forty-five minutes after they put them on - it's also becoming increasingly clear that magical things happen in Target.
I was in the office supply aisle -- which, coincidentally, led to the bulk Sharpie discovery -- and overheard this: "OK. Stop dancing around. What's on the next card?"
And I was like, "Whoa. Is there a dance contest happening in Target? Because I'm so ready to tap-off."
Across the aisle was this adorable little girl whose main job, I think, was to spin. Constantly. I don't know how she didn't fall down. I just stared at her. And her brother was sort of dodging and weaving around this little human top to capture a small, white index card in his mother's hand. I immediately named them Edward and Catherine (no, not Cullen... the one who was King for about seventeeen minutes. You know, because royalty is always in Target. Not sure what I'm talking about? Here. ) I don't know if Catherine was deliberately spinning in a way to block her brother, or if centrifugal force was at play here, but I don't think the defensive line for the Cowboys could have gotten past her. She was like a pirouetting Brandenburg Gate.
Mom finally planted her hand on her daughter's head and handed an index card to each of them. They both squealed and zipped off down the aisles, and ten seconds later they were yelling, "FOUND IT!" and coming back with their discoveries. He had Windex. She had band-aids. They were announcing what they had to their mom and she was thanking them and praising them and then handing them another card. Which set Catherine off on another flurry of squealing and spinning and dashing off for treasure. Edward stayed.
Edward: I don't know this one.
Mom: What does it spell? [runs her hand over the card]
Edward: C-A-S-C-A-D-E. It's a green box.
Mom: What else do you see on the box?
Mom: Good. So what is your guess.
Mom: Close. Let's go look.
And then she turned around and sort of looked through me like didn't-I-have-something-to-do-besides-stare-at-her-family? I don't know how long I hadn't moved. Part of it was the fun of it all. The spinning and the squealing and the not hurrying. And the index cards! Because that is soooo much cooler than my list because it had pictures and the kids could help and play Treasure Hunt and why didn't I think of this?
Then Catherine came back with a box of detergent as big as her and yelled out, "MOM! Move your cane. I can't get the box in." She reached into the cart and pulled out a long white walking stick.
By then the kids were trying to heave the detergent box into the cart and as any mom knows, there's that split second right before a big mess happens that you could have prevented it. I jumped in. I might have yelled something like, "I got it!" but it wasn't like she needed any warning. Because despite my love and skill for walking in heels, I am the loudest walker on the planet. I sound like a furkin' Clydesdale. Even carpet can't save me. Forget any sneaking up on anyone. Ever. I might as well wear a bell. But you'd never hear it. Because of all the STOMPING. I even tiptoe loud. It sucks.
Anyway, I clomp over there and catch this box just as it's about to splat all over the place. Catherine spun out of the way and settled herself right behind her mom's knees.
Me: There you go, dude.
Mom: [to me] Thank you. [to son] Say thank you, Edward.
Edward: Thank you.
Me: You're welcome. [to mom] I'm sorry. I'm know I'm going to sound incredibly nosy. But how do you -? I mean, my kids act like crack addicts when they come here and ask for everything. Yours are awesome.
Mom: [laughed] Well, I do cloak myself in sympathy. And say things like, 'I'm so glad I can't see how badly you're behaving.' It's so wrong. But [runs hands around herself like she's touching an imaginary cape] Cloak Of Sympathy.
Edward: We can only get what we have cards for.
And he handed me one. It was a little index card with a picture of Tide or whatever, and then word T-I-D-E and then all the little Braille dots that I assume said Tide. I looked down at him and said, "This is pretty cool."
Edward: And, she counts everything in the cart.
By this point, Catherine had resumed playing Treasure Hunt and was given another card, and sent to go find its match. Mom reached in the cart, felt around and told her son the detergent was maybe too big and heavy to walk home with and they probably needed to get a smaller box.
Edward led his mom to the detergent aisle. Together they put the box back on the shelf and then she knelt down and they talked about what box might be the best choice for their walk home. Catherine came back with shampoo held over her head, yelled "SHAMPOO!" tossed it in the cart, and got a snuggle and a kiss from her mom.
I should have walked away at this point and let them be. I reminded myself that I was in a hurry. Sheesh. I'm always in a hurry. Rush here, go there, clock, timers, lists and my constant announcements of there being "no time!" ever for anything. Whose fault is that? One word: Mine.
I walked back over. Apologized for being all intrusive - again - and said, "I just really want to say thank you. I'd forgotten to enjoy mine the way you do. I'd forgotten that look they have that just melts your heart. The way they've looked at you."
Mom: "Oh, what I'd give to see that look. I've felt it. Never seen it."
Me: "It's a great look. But it's a better feeling."
Yesterday, we went to Target. I took all the IHPs with me. And, for the first time, we didn't rush. And we had a list. And coupons with pictures. And they went on a Treasure Hunt. And of course they asked for other stuff that wasn't on the list.
But I think they maybe liked the snuggles best.
Who knew you could find snuggles in Target? As it turns out, they're in the detergent aisle.
And, to Catherine and Edward's mom in Lansing, Michigan -- Thank You. Thank you for the best Christmas present ever.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010
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