Candid Motherhood: Walmart at Midnight

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Photo: Momlogic.comThere are days that we block out of our memory.  I’m not sure whether it’s by God’s grace that we forget, or whether trauma causes our body to produce some type of hormone that erases, or at least significantly diminishes, our memory of certain events.  Childbirth is a perfect example of this.  If any of us truly remembered what it was like, we would all have only one child.

This had been one of those days.  At the time, I had a two year old and a five month old. Need I say more? Even as I write this, it pains me.  The memory is vague, but if I really dig deep, I recall that my two year old had bitten the back of my leg at the grocery store, I had forgotten to replace my nursing pad on one side so, while running errands, I got lots of inquisitive looks from old men and dirty looks from several mothers covering their sons eyes.  I didn’t realize that I had “sprung a leak” until I felt the pool of wetness in my belly button. Later, the dog ate a used feminine hygiene product out of the trash and then threw it back up on the kitchen floor while I was sitting at the table with the “cool” neighborhood moms I had finally mustered up the courage to ask over for coffee. (All true.  You can’t make this stuff up.)
By the time my husband got home, the house smelled like a mix of burnt salmon and vomit.  I suffered my way through the rest of my evening with robotic efficiency and after I put the kids to bed, I marched into my husband’s home office and announced, “I’m running away.  Don’t follow me.  I’ll be back by morning.”

My husband is a smart man.  He knew better than to reason with me.  I’m sure he uttered a silent prayer as he watched me go. 
I drove aimlessly.  Somehow, my body was navigating toward something that had not quite materialized in my mind.  Like a pilgrim headed for Mecca, I pulled into the parking lot of the 24-hour Walmart SuperCenter. 

I have a motto in life: If you can’t buy it at Walmart at midnight, you don’t really need it.  Here is the only store, that I am aware of, where you can buy both milk and ammunition; the only place to find both flat screen TVs and catfish bait. 

Apparently, this was the haven that my soul craved. My sorrow melted away as I wandered endlessly down aisles, reading the backs of book covers, sniffing scented candles, feeling the thickness of new towels and dreaming of the body I’d have if I owned some of the exercise equipment that I saw displayed.  I was skipping toward the liquor department when I noticed an equally blissful woman (probably the only other non-employee in the store) pushing a shopping cart and humming to herself. As she rounded the corner toward me, I realized that I knew this woman!! 

My friend Annie had 3 boys under the age of 4.  As our eyes met, her face held an expression of deep knowing.  The veteran mom that she was, she gently asked me, “You ran away, didn’t you?” 

I melted into a blob of cackling laughter and desperate sobs.  She held me and we had a good cry together in aisle 27.   Sometimes God places just the right person in your path at just the right time.   

The next morning, I woke up on the couch still wearing my tennis shoes.  My husband was standing over me, my hot coffee in hand and he said with a grin, “I’m so glad you came back.”

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Karis Murray is a Scottsdale, Arizona native and mother to daughters Riley, age 7 and Lydia, age 6.  She is currently the Creative Director for the Family Matters Minute Radio Show and serves as Lead Writer and Editor for the show.  She has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years and is a poet in her own mind!  Learn more about Karis at her blog: CandidMotherhood.com.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Hilarious and yet so true. I can relate with all you said. Unfortunately the memory hasn’t faded yet, as my little ones are still 22 months & 3 months old. I too am reminded that God’s mercies are new & sufficient everyday. Sometimes those mercies come in the shape of a friend in aisle 27. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  2. Hilarious and yet so true. I can relate with all you said. Unfortunately the memory hasn’t faded yet, as my little ones are still 22 months & 3 months old. I too am reminded that God’s mercies are new & sufficient everyday. Sometimes those mercies come in the shape of a friend in aisle 27. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  3. I am laughing so hard… mostly because I HAVE SO DONE THAT BEFORE! Seriously, I think the 24 hour Walmarts are the sanity saver for moms with young kids. You definitely take the cake with the dog part though. One of those thing you have to laugh so you don’t cry right! Love your stories Karis 🙂

  4. I am laughing so hard… mostly because I HAVE SO DONE THAT BEFORE! Seriously, I think the 24 hour Walmarts are the sanity saver for moms with young kids. You definitely take the cake with the dog part though. One of those thing you have to laugh so you don’t cry right! Love your stories Karis 🙂

  5. I have tears in my eyes and am laughing at the same time. Thanks for letting us see such a vulnerable experience of motherhood. I think a lot of moms can relate. Thank God for women such as your friend Annie, who are there to encourage us when we need a hug and a shoulder to cry on!
    I’m glad you got some “runaway time” and even more glad that you went home. 🙂 I think moms need to get away like that more often… it keep us sane! Thanks again for sharing.

    • “Annie” is a real person that we both know, but I changed her name to protect her privacy. facebook message me if you can guess who it is.

  6. I have tears in my eyes and am laughing at the same time. Thanks for letting us see such a vulnerable experience of motherhood. I think a lot of moms can relate. Thank God for women such as your friend Annie, who are there to encourage us when we need a hug and a shoulder to cry on!
    I’m glad you got some “runaway time” and even more glad that you went home. 🙂 I think moms need to get away like that more often… it keep us sane! Thanks again for sharing.

    • “Annie” is a real person that we both know, but I changed her name to protect her privacy. facebook message me if you can guess who it is.

  7. Karis,
    I needed that laugh. Mark has been out of town for 8 days and to say we have had a stressful week is putting it mildly. I just asked my 12yr old to “be mature” and help me with his brother and sister until daddy gets home tomorrow. Ah motherhood!!

    Jamey

  8. ROFL!!! My husband and I were both laughing over your post!!

    BTW I just found your blog through Wildflower Diapers 🙂 I am sorta local in that I live in Flagstaff 😉

  9. Thanks Karis for sharing your wonderful gift with us! You made me laugh so hard and cry so hard at the same time…hope you don’t mind I shared it with my friends…keep it up! We enjoy it so much!

  10. Thanks Karis for sharing your wonderful gift with us! You made me laugh so hard and cry so hard at the same time…hope you don’t mind I shared it with my friends…keep it up! We enjoy it so much!

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