We got back from our trip to Richmond on Sunday night. After being gone for six days, there wasn’t much food in the house.
Yesterday (Monday) I had plans to get caught up on laundry, clean some stuff up and get to the grocery store, but as so often happens, things did not run completely according to plan, and at 6:00, I still had not gone food shopping.
So I told the kids we were going to Costco and that they could get something to eat there for dinner.
Going to the store with five kids is not exactly my idea of fun. But with Number 7 being almost six years old and Number 3 being twelve, it’s not quite as bad as it was two or three (or four or five) years ago.
Rather than drag them around the store with me, I told them they could order their food and eat it together while I was shopping.
This is a stage of parenting that I have to admit I am really enjoying. This independence thing does not suck.
I put Number 4 in charge of ordering the food, made sure they all had a spot to sit, and then I headed into Costco solo.
It was glorious.
I didn’t have to get that much, so it only took me about ten minutes.
When I got in line to pay for everything, I could see all the kids sitting down eating.
They looked calm and well-behaved.
I immediately thought to myself, I need to take a picture of this and write a post about it. About this stage of parenting where things are slightly less labor intensive. Where your kids aren’t trying to swipe everything within arm’s reach off the shelves. Where you don’t have to deal with an infant seat or those stupid cloth things you put into the cart so your first kid (cause let’s face it, by the second or third or seventh kid you don’t really give a flying f*ck) is protected from everyone else’s germs. Where you don’t have to take your kid into the bathroom and change a diaper on those disgusting changing stations attached to the wall. Where you can appreciate your kids being older rather than getting all sentimental about how quickly they are growing up.
Where you don’t leave the building feeling like you’ve just gone twelve rounds with Mike Tyson.
So after I paid, I headed over to the table where the kids were. I stopped my cart and got my phone out. I told them how much I appreciated them eating together and behaving so I could quickly get my shopping done, and I asked if I could take their picture.
As I was focusing the camera, Number 7 saw a penny on the ground an immediately climbed under the table.
I don’t know what Number 6 was doing, but he was distracted by something behind him.
I snapped the picture.
At that exact moment, Number 6’s head somehow hit his drink, knocking it over.
Its entire contents spilled out of the cup, flowed across the table, and directly onto…
Number 7’s head.
Number 7 had a thirty second freak out and started bawling.
I felt bad, but it was so funny, Number 3 and I couldn’t stop laughing.
I got about five thousand napkins and attempted to dry Number 7 off.
And then I said to Number 3, “How funny would it be if I actually caught that moment in the picture?”
After Number 7 was mostly dry, I looked at my phone, and sure enough, the only picture I managed to take was the exact moment the Pepsi floodgates opened up.
I showed it to Number 7 and she went from hysterically crying to hysterically laughing. And then the six of us had the biggest laugh we’ve had in a long, long time.
I sent a sticky Number 7 and a still laughing Number 4 over to get some ice cream, and then we all headed out of Costco.
So even when the kids get older, life is still a shit show. But it’s a different kind of shit show. A shit show that you can all appreciate together.
I miss having babies sometimes. I’m sure I always will.
But I like relating to my kids on this different level. It’s fun. And while they still drive me batshit crazy most days, it’s not quite so lonely now that they are a little older.
I’ll appreciate this stage where the kids (and I) can enjoy a little more freedom.
One day I’ll be a grandma and get to enjoy the baby phase again. And maybe I’ll go to Costco with Number 7 to help her out when she has a little one of her own.
As we’re walking out of checkout line and past the food, we’ll both look at each other and say, “Remember that time Number 6 spilled his entire drink on your head?”
And then we can have another real good laugh together on another whole new level.