“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” ~Frida Kahlo
There have been countless days I have endured more than I thought possible. Many of those days I know I can handle more, because I am a mother and all mothers can, but other days I wish I didn’t have to. Whether I was suffering marital stress, kid stress or the dreaded loss of sleep, I have made it through those days without completely crumbling, at least most without crumbling, and somehow come out stronger even if with more gray hairs and shadows under my eyes.
I endured at Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon. While I do enjoy the store’s economies of scale, I do not enjoy the expanse of low quality products, that they are taking over small business, the lighting, the lack of cleanliness, the smokers directly outside the door, and the unhelpful staff. It’s nice that they hire elderly to hand out carts but I’m not sure how necessary that is, it’s seems a ploy to portray a caring persona.
I have had a couple of experiences in my lifetime at Wal-Mart, aka Wally World, which probably adds to my disdain for the store even if I do still frequent it occasionally for their low prices. As a college student I walked the aisles preparing for a yard sale when a man very slowly walked past me while displaying his “goods” to me. Looking as cheaply made as the rest of the items in the store, I was not impressed. Once the shock wore off, I was extremely irritated and wanted to face the exhibitionist but he quickly made his exit. Only in the vastness of Wal-Mart could this kind of violation happen. Another note against Wal-Mart is that they will accept the return of an opened douche. I know this because a friend tested this theory as a prank and it held true. I hope some unsuspecting douche-er did not get the short end of that stick.
As for my most recent experience, I cannot truly blame Wal-Mart but it does not bode well for my being a return customer. I went in to the store for the diapers I use for my son and unfortunately, Wal-Mart and Target are the only places that have Organic Cotton Huggies in my area. So, I go to the store with both kids to “quickly” pick these up along with a few other miscellaneous items. After about five minutes of calmly shopping with both kids behaving, my son decides he is “all done” (hands signing furiously) while riding in the buggy. I’ve been training him on buggy riding since he could sit on his own but have let him out a few times and that always makes the next trip worse. So, I held my ground and did not let him out to expedite my trip, reinforce the “training” and get the hell out of there! However, the boy did not oblige but instead screamed and cried because he wanted to walk like big sister. In the midst of all this, I am getting those awful looks from passersby as if I am doing something terribly cruel to my child.
I decided that maybe I needed to relent and calm him down, so I picked him up. The boy was not happy with this either, he wanted down. Well, that was just not going to happen in this large, busy store. Walking to the checkout counter, I struggled with what felt like a wet seal, while sweating, and letting my sweet daughter push the cart when she offered even if she did run into end caps along the way. As I approached the checkout line, I accidentally chose the one with the lovely mother and her sleeping young baby. One might expect a scowl from her, I probably would have had I been in her shoes, but instead she looked at me sympathetically and offered me to go in front of her saying that she has a four-year old at home and completely understands. When I tried to move aisles because I didn’t want to wake her baby, she shrugged and waved me ahead.
Meanwhile, my slippery little piglet still wanted down and I allowed it thinking “whatever, just get me out of here!” But, alas, he did not want to hold my hand and preferred to just wander off into the Wal-Mart abyss. Being the cruel mom that I am, I didn’t allow that, so back into my now sweaty arms he went. Finally, I finished the transaction, apologized to the clerks and headed out. Mind you, I did stop to video the last bit of the tantrum to prove to his Nana that he actually is naughty sometimes.
Finally outside, my boy instantly stopped crying; the light of day and fresh air were the perfect elixir. Apparently, my boy has some disdain for Wal-Mart too. I’m not sure if it’s the lighting, the smells, the size, etc. but the only other time he has thrown such a fit was at a Wal-Mart. He has not been a complete joy at our regular grocery or other stores that have buggies, but his temper never flares up as much as it does at this particular store, very bizarre indeed.
Another mom with her two children walked by and she said, “You’re doing a good job mama.” I could have cried. There are so many judgmental people in the world, in particular, to mothers and how they raise their children. Most mothers, myself included, take mothering as the most important job they hold and will defend their ways and their children with claws raised if threatened. I know I am not perfect and will take advice if given in love. I love my children to the ends of the earth and just want them to be civilized human beings though my youngest displayed anything but. This woman took the time to stop and say a kind word to a sweaty, worn out mom and I could not have appreciated it more.
So, the day moved along nicely and we made one more errand to the veterinarian’s office for food and medicine for my dogs. As I was waiting to pay for my items and my children were smiling and being charming, a woman said, “Your boy has a good set of lungs on him; I just came from Wal-Mart too.” Lovely.
Thank you, Frida, for reminding me that I am stronger than I realize, for it is the solidarity among mothers that make me so.