I ran into a fellow school mom several weeks ago. ‘We were just talking about you,’ she informed me, ‘about how you always look so calm. I remember when my three girls were that age, I was crazy!’ It made me laugh – being mistaken for a calm person. I briefly considered smiling sagely and shrugging my shoulders as if to say ‘yes, I guess I was meant to be a mother…of boys.’ But I couldn’t – pretend – so I assured her I’m as crazy as they come.
I mean, how else to explain the fact that I took all three boys to Costco. And the Superstore. On Saturday. By myself.
Granted, I didn’t exactly have a choice. Our food supplies had dwindled down to nothing (seriously, do these boys never stop eating?!) And the professor had to work. Ergo, I had to take ‘the three’ with me. Little did I know the weather forecast had suggested a near-blizzard beginning Saturday afternoon. Which is why everyone in Calgary showed up at Costco at 2pm.
I’d never seen lines that long. It was like the pre-Christmas rush….times two. Naturally, Percy chose this particular day to scream loud enough to make heads all over the store turn in my direction. To locate the source of the noise. It was the deeply humiliating kind of screaming where you seriously contemplate abandoning your cart full of groceries – and meat. Two seconds later I ran into some of our former neighbors, who I hadn’t seen in a year.
They didn’t look frazzled or humiliated. They looked perfectly zen and well-coiffed. ‘Where are your boys,’ I asked wearily. ‘Oh, the little man fell asleep in the car, so his big brother (age 12) is watching him. I told him to call us if he wakes up,’ my looks-good-in-yoga-pants neighbor explained.
‘Oh, that’s nice,’ I whimpered enviously, while handing Percy a fourth mandarin orange. Part of operation ‘keep him quiet’. I steered the cart towards the ridiculously long check-out line and hoped ‘the three’ would keep it together until we got back to the car. ‘You’re brave,’ a fellow shopper remarked while motioning – with her eyes – at the human contents of my cart. ‘No, stupid,’ I mouthed by way of reply. Lest the boy children hear me say the dreaded ‘s’ word.
Of course they were hyper-focused on their brand-new Toy Story book. The one I’d been coerced into buying because it had been vandalized by a Johnson boy, who’d thought it would be ‘okay’ if he ripped out the book’s plastic compartment containing tiny Toy Story toys, and distribute them to his baby brother. Who proceeded to drop them on the floor – one by one – wailing loudly until I stooped down towards the concrete floor and retrieved the miniature Bullseye. Cowgirl. Buzz Lightyear. Etcetera.
Many minutes (hours?) later, I exited Costco. I loaded the groceries into my murky car-van, and drove towards the Superstore. While waiting at a stoplight, a beautiful shiny black BMW M5 passed me. With my zen-former-neighbors at the wheel.
When I got home I unloaded the car and plopped down in front of the computer to check the Calgary Herald website. I learned of the blizzard that was headed our way. ‘Maybe that’s why the stores were so busy,’ I concluded. And I confirmed the much-publicized Super Moon was scheduled to make its appearance that evening.
I put the boys to bed. ‘We’re hungry,’ they chorused. ‘What do you mean you’re hungry, we just ate!’ ‘We didn’t have lunch today,’ the Gort complained. ‘That’s not true, you had an egg sandwich.’ ‘That wasn’t a lunch, that was a snack,’ he rebutted. ‘We can’t go to bed unless we have three meals a day,’ the starving orphan explained.
I asked the professor to cut up some apple slices and ducked outside with my camera in hand. To document the Super Moon. There was….no moon. Anywhere. ‘It’s super cloudy,’ the professor explained, ‘we probably can’t see it.’ And, to reassure me that I wasn’t missing the world’s most spectacular moon, he walked down to the park at the end of our street, in search of the moon.
He returned with a shrug and a shake of the head. No moon. I waited until midnight, then turned off the light and went to bed.
When I woke up the next morning….there was a quarter-inch of fresh snow on the ground.
No moon. No blizzard.
Who’s crazy now?