I had one hour. Our local Fred Meyer has this little kiddie-care place for children ages 3-5; this is a very small, but precious window. When I do my big grocery shopping, I try to either go alone or only take one or two kids. This time I had all of my girls with me.
I had a large list and several coupons. Two of the girls needed tennis shoes and there was a deal. We hurriedly tried on shoes. (Thankfully, there weren't many choices in my price and taste range.) Next to the groceries. We raced through the aisles, stopping to pick up the dropped scarf, helping one girl out of the cart and the next one in--you know, the usual stuff. We were pushing the one hour mark when I pulled into the check-out line.
Trying to plan everything just so, I hurried over to the playground and told the lady I was in line and was it okay if my youngest could stay just a few more minutes. "Of course. No problem," she declared as she looked around at the only two children in the room playing happily with the plastic kitchen.
Back to the cart and now we are next in line. My older girls help me put items on the conveyor belt while the 6 year old stared longingly at the rows and rows of desirable candies. In the middle of it all, an announcement over the PA, "Will Emily Sanders please come to the Children's Play Place?"
"Oh, no!" That's me, I tell the checker. "I'll be right back."
I instructed my big girls to continue putting groceries on the belt and ran to pick up the youngest. She needed to use the restroom. Right Now.
Hurry back and ask my oldest girl to take her to the restroom, which was luckily not far from our check-out. Meanwhile, I'm working on the coupons and trying to get the last of our purchases on the belt.
"Mom," says a very pale 9 year old, "I feel really sick." And she looks like it. Her skin is pale, but her lips are bright red. She is shaking. Just then, the oldest returns with the youngest, fresh from the bathroom.
"Will you take (the next sister) to the bathroom? She isn't feeling well." With nary a rolled eye, off they go. Boy am I grateful for that oldest girl.
Finish checking out. Go check on the big girls in the restroom where my 9 year old daughter is not looking good. We get to the car as quickly as the sick one can go, bundle her up inside and give her a plastic bag for insurance. The rest of us unload the groceries, return the cart, and buckle in our seats.
And I take a deep breath. Whoa. When it rains it pours, I suppose.
You will be happy to know that we all made it home alive and my new car is unscathed. It could have been worse!