I cannot move, as the man hands me a map. I am paralyzed… All I can do is blink.
Now, standing still and blinking while having four children with you at the supermarket can lead to disaster – but there I stood -- (like I said) paralyzed -- only blinking.
Stop and Shop has recently had a “make over”. The nice gentleman who works there hands me a “map” to make my shopping experience in the newly renovated super market a successful one. Does he have a motorized shopping carriage big enough for five?? Because, I have time constraints here and fitting in a scavenger hunt at the supermarket – before soccer practice and boy scouts – was not on my agenda.
I need to get what we need and get out – FAST!
My body temperature rises… My stomach begins to churn --My Lilliputians watch silently – sensing weakness in their leader….
I am feeling a bit like an ant whose path has been blocked by a leaf (remember the scene from the movie A Bug’s Life?). I want to yell, “I’m lost!!! I’m lost!! Where’s the line? What do we do? We will be stuck here forever!”
There most certainly have been times in my life where having a man step out of nowhere and hand me a map would have been very useful. A guru or a mentor, someone who has perfected the art of life’s trials and tribulations – and what to do, what to say, and how to get through it all with dignity. But, I never thought I would need a map for grocery shopping.
Besides, I don’t need a map! I know what I am doing?!
I begin to confidently walk through the aisles. I walk and search, and walk, and walk. The time ticks on.. I stop.. I am defeated, irritated and tired as I find myself standing in the middle of the super market.
What am I here for again?
My mind goes blank.
My oldest two children are now on either side of me. They are pressing their little frames into my body and my seven year old son has his arm wrapped around my back –he is patting me gently. They are reading the map I am holding in my hand and talking to each other.
I feel like I am in a theater watching a scene unfold – as my two precious children collaborate – I look on in awe as they kindly step up to help their Mom.
Their Mom- who used to be able to handle such things as shopping for milk, bread, cat food and orange juice…
I begin to sense that unwelcomed haunting feeling of failure and negativity as it seizes an opportunity to humble me (again). Has it come to this? My thoughts begin to race -- How long will it be until my young children have to care for their mindless mother? They need a leader! How long till they no longer view me as the all knowing? I have not had time to teach them all they need to know! It is too early in their journey to have to make decisions on where they need to go! They are not ready for this! What have I done?
Crazy what a trip to the supermarket will do to ones sanity….
Anyways.. I watch as my two oldest children take the hands of their younger siblings and they begin to walk ahead of me… My ten year old looks over her shoulder and says, “Come on Mom, the map says the pet isle is over this way.”
Now, at this moment I am not the leader. And it is ok. The tightness in my chest subsides as I watch my kiddos maneuver us through this small challenge. Again, I am brought back to that scene in the film A Bug’s Life where another ant steps in and addresses the “leaf issue” and tells his fellow ants not to panic -- to stay calm. The ants question the leader – but he brings them hope and perspective and they realize they can maneuver and it will be fine...
It is actually pretty cool to see this glimmer of competence in my offspring. I can’t say that I won’t continue to worry.. But, I find comfort in the fact that my children have learned to use logic, to work together and stay calm in the face of adversity. I know the road ahead is still steep, and we will need to rely on each other as we continue this crazy journey….
I watch them… and realize I have never loved anything more.
So I’m going to relax a little --
Besides.. A trip to the super market is nothing compared to the “twig of ‘93”… :)