I went to the deli at the grocery store today to pick up a sandwich for lunch. There was a woman there with her two sons, who looked to be about 3 and 5. As I waited in the sandwich line, she came up to the deli with kids in tow.
Gee, I thought. What cute little boys.
Their mom asked what they wanted from the deli. The older boy, while holding a lollipop out of his brother's reach ("SHRIEEEEK!") pointed at a 12-pack of Pepsi along the wall.
"I told you!" the mom snapped. "I don't want to carry a big 12-pack all the way back to the motorhome!"
She turned back to the girl behind the counter and started giving her order. The kids decided that it was an excellent time to play tag.
'Round and 'round the cart they ran, with the youngest still loudly expressing his displeasure about not having a lollipop.
'Round and 'round.
Then they took off behind me, disappearing into the aisles. They were no longer visible, but the girl who was making my sandwich exchanged a small smile with me. We knew where they were.
"SHRIEEEK! SHRI-SHRI-SHRI-SHRIEK! SHRIEK! SHRIEEEEK!"
Undeterred, Momma kept ordering. "...and one large container of mac and cheese, two mild burritos..."
As she loaded her food into her cart, the oldest boy ran back to her side. They walked away. At first I wondered why she wasn't worried that her 3-year-old could be kidnapped, but then it became obvious that there's no way someone would be able to take that kid out of the store without the mom noticing; the sudden silence would be deafening.
They walked the aisles as I picked up a candy bar and stood in line at the register. As I was paying, they got into line at the next register.
"FINE! You want candy? YOU WANT CANDY??" asked the mom oh so quietly and gently.
"YEAH!" said the older boy.
"SHRIEK!" said the younger.
I walked into the store feeling a little tired and burnt out. I walked out again with a BIG smile on my face, one thought stuck in my head: At least I don't have kids.