In May, I had big dreams for the summer: swimming at the club (a small fortune to join, but what would you pay for endless summer memories frolicking in the sun?), day trips to the zoo, and care-free evenings by the fire pit.
Somehow in the seventh hour, as the first day of school barrels towards us, two things occur to me:
1. Hadley stopped knowing how to read.
2. I love Target.
Don’t worry, there is a connection.
As teacher assignments came out, the reality of Haddie starting first grade was IN. MY. FACE. So, being the conscientious, and pro-education mother that I am, we sat down to read. Yesterday. For the first time all summer.
Let’s just say it was agonizing.
H: BABBY was…
Me: Honey, that’s a D–Daddy.
H: The BOG sat on [what's that word mama??]
M: Babe, that’s “the” you just read that. And..that’s a D—dog.
Repeat for 35 minutes.
That’s where Target comes in. I had to get out. Pool? No one ever wants to go unless they can “bring a friend.” Besides, we have already spent a thousand dollars on crappy pizza and beers I shouldn’t be drinking at 11:55 am (my watch is at least 5 minutes slow.) Zoo? I hate driving to Philly. I hate Philly. And, I hate the zoo. Enough said there. The logical choice for a field trip was Target.
Like a heroin addict hitting the street again, guilt knotted my stomach. Then, a positive! Why not try to figure out why we/I love Target so much? I decided to use today’s trip to do a little “psycho-analysis” (coined by my husband: “You have a Target problem, Psycho.”)
First, the Health and Beauty section. I pick up extra body puffs, shampoo, and toothbrush heads. I get the kids mouth wash and Sam his own body wash and deodorant.
In the cleaning aisle, I load up on laundry soap and stain remover stuff.
On to groceries where Ziplocks in every size, TP, cheese sticks, and trail mix find my cart.
Haddie and Maisy each get arm-fulls of clothes. There are tunics with metallic belts, Cheetah print jeans, rhinestone tights, and camouflage patterned ballet shoes.
Sam has gotten his own cart. In it he has a gigantic Nerf M16 and a 50 pack of extra “whatever those nerf bullet things are called.” He explains that not a single one of the 7 Nerf guns in our basement are actually his and that he is going around the neighborhood this very day to return them to their rightful owners.
Not so fast Mister.
He is the only one I put my foot down on. No Nerf weapon…we do not condone gun violence in our house (that will keep him thinking for a while.)
On to the checkout.
Until the whopping cha-ching moment, I was eerily happy. Then, suddenly, I found myself deflated— analyzing which items I would leave in the car to return tomorrow. If I did it fast enough, Chris would never know the original damage.
We can survive for a year with just the stuff in our pantry and garage. Nothing in that cart was really necessary. So, why do I find myself repeatedly gravitating to Target in order to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of stuff?
It’s a control thing.
When you shop at Target, you buy things that you THINK are going to make your house better, more organized, cleaner, and more–perfect? The snacks you prepare will be properly portioned in the tiny snack bags. The mouthwash, deodorant and body wash will keep your son’s room from smelling like dirty shoes that had just rolled around with a wet dog. The children, with their scrubbed faces and combed hair, will be dressed for school in coordinated/ stain free outfits.
Laundry will never pile up and no stains will be permanently set by the heat of the dryer. Come on yes you do. You know you put stained things into the dryer without looking too.
Of course, that is all a load (not of laundry.) My house will never be organized. Only now it is unorganized with MORE crap from Target in it. I haven’t done laundry in six years. There will be weekly casualties of stained clothes that my kids will magically find and wear. My son, old enough for middle school, cannot find his shoes. But, he can miraculously extract the filthy, God-forsaken T-shirt I’ve hidden in the deepest corner of his closet. And he will wear it and wear it and wear it.
Chris will soon revert to his ways of wrapping every single lunch item in foil. “Don’t waste money on bags! Foil is perfect for everything from sandwiches to grapes to Goldfish!” he proclaims.
Sam and I will have the daily battle of the memory. “I took a shower this morning Mom!” No, that was yesterday Son. “Well, I’m still clean!” You have been skating, biking, riding, and playing with the dog in 98 degree weather. You are not clean.
For that brief moment in Target, I was in control of that cart. The summer spent without a single day trip to the zoo, the sad fact that Haddie SHOULD have been reading all this time, and the sickening reality that my sweet baby boy–the one who once smelled like baby heaven and dryer sheets–now has BO, all disappear within the Happy Place that is Target.
There. Analysis complete. What I can’t figure out is Walmart.
I would rather have a PAP smear than set foot in that place. Discount merchandise, meat and tires in the same aisle, friendly red-vests, what is there not to love??
That’s for next time. My hour on the proverbial couch is spent.