SO, I left you when I was standing at the gas pump with the sick realization that I was no longer in possession of my wallet. (A very sick realization, indeed). Babyman was crying, traffic was bad and my gas tank was on empty. I finally caved in to the fact that my wallet was NOT in the van, and started thinking back. Had I left it somewhere in the mall? Did it fall in the parking lot somehow? It's always hectic loading everyone into the van when I am by myself with them, and Sweetcheeks had nearly run out into the parking lot that day- perhaps in the chaos my wallet somehow fell on the ground. I hopped back into the van and joined the traffic crush (doing my best to soothe Babyman) to head back to my previous parking space.
The ride back sucked, of course- I felt a sense of urgency, because if the wallet was in the parking lot, I wanted to find it before anyone else. But traffic was very slow, and meanwhile Babyman's cries grew in decibels and intensity. Littleman slept peacefully on, but Sweetcheeks threw in one more element by asking me innocently "Where is the wallet, Mommy?" over and over and OVER again. (WHY do they do that?) Argh. And all the while, I try to conserve gas where I can because that needle is frighteningly low. THAT would just be the icing on the cake, I'm thinking- to run out of gas and be stranded with the kids without any money or ID. Yeah. Oh, and one more thing: I had to pee. Bad.
Good news, I made it to my parking space. Bad news, no wallet anywhere. My next hope is that either it was picked up by a good soul who turned it in to a lost and found, or that I'd left it at Teavana (where I'd last used it). Babyman is super upset by now, so I sit in the van to nurse, trying not to fret too much. I try using 411 on my cell to call Teavana, but the number turns out to be a fax line. I'm going to have to drag everyone back into the mall.
I put Babyman in the stroller and unbuckle Sweetcheeks, and try to wake Littleman. He is SO asleep. Littleman does not do well with rude awakenings. At ALL. Finally, finally I get him out of the van and we are all moving. The nice lady at the Nordstrom has not seen the wallet. She calls Nordstom's lost and found to see if anyone had turned it in- nope. Next I shuttle everyone to the bathroom, as I'm about to burst. We all crowd into the big stall and I turn to find Littleman's already sitting on the pot. I hop around slightly, trying to be patient with him. . . until I realize he is pooping. Geez! I dash for the next stall while Littleman whines that his door is open and what if someone comes in? At least I'm feeling MUCH better. I help Littleman and Sweetcheeks finish up, and shuttle everyone toward the sinks.
That's when I hear someone say my name in surprise. Looking up, I spot a neighbor whom I know from the Homeowner's Association. She's very friendly, and I pause so she can ooh and ah over Babyman. She senses that I'm uncomfortable though, and finally asks how I'm doing. "Fine", I reply, "though I'm actually having a minor crisis right now." I explain and she springs into action, offering to help. She holds Sweetcheeks' hand as we all troop out to Teavana, and offers to loan me money for gas in case we don't find the wallet. What started out as an irritation (because I was in a hurry) turns out to be a wonderful help.
As we walk into Teavana I catch the clerk's eye and ask if anyone had found a black wallet. "Yes!" she says, "Here it is!" And it's my wallet. I could melt with relief. We all cheer, and I thank my neighbor. Whew. Thank goodness.
We do make it to the gas station, and I fill the tank and we go home. Whew. Whew. What relief.
It's funny how very much more stressful these sorts of situations become when I am by myself with the kids. Once upon a time, this would have been little more than an annoying footnote to my day. Now, it's a situation that probably took a year off of my life. And really? What for? I'm glad I went straight back and retrieved my wallet, but was it really worth that sort of stress? Probably not. It's hard to remember this when you are in the situation, let alone manage to apply it to your state of mind.
Anyway, it all ended fine, and I relaxed at home. And now, Babyman's crying again. Off I go!
2 days ago