Monday, December 08, 2008

I can't make this stuff up.

Here it is.

This morning, I make my list of dinners for the week, check out the grocer circulars and decide to go to Superfresh. It's twice as far as my usual Giant, but it's in the same shopping center as a Post Office and I need to buy stamps. Sonja wakes up from her nap and we head out the door. I feel pretty accomplished as we left the house in perfect order and I remembered my coupons.
We park in between the grocer and the Post Office, purchase our stamps and then trek over to Superfresh. Both girls are getting hungry for lunch but Sonja is less reasonable about those things and is starting to squawk loudly. We check out and I push the cart back to our car, unload it quickly because Sonja is really getting impatient, swing Anna into her seat and Sonja's carseat into its base. The sole cart corral is three aisles over and I'm not comfortable walking that far away from the girls in the car. So, I park it neatly next to another cart alongside a curb, hop into the car and head for home.
We pull in, I shuttle the kids and bags in and sit down to nurse Sonja. Anna takes off her shoes and socks. And it hits me. The stamps! I left the stamps in the grocery cart! Five books- $42 worth sitting in the bottom of a cart, like the rock sitting in the bottom of my stomach. Okay, we'll just go back. The cart was not likely to be taken back to Superfresh, right? It was halfway across the parking lot. Surely it would still be right where I left it and the stamps would be there too. So back we go. Anna wasn't excited about another trip, especially as lunch was still to be had, but she cheerfully reminded me every 12 seconds, "Mama, you forgot the stamps in the cart."
We arrive on site and survey the parking lot. The cart is gone. Okay, what now? I drive around, feeling miserable. At the entrance to Superfresh, I debate going in to see if someone turned the stamps in. Anna has no shoes and socks on though and it's cold out...I don't know how I could take them both in. And there is no way that I would leave them in the car just to run in real quick. (I NEVER have left the girls in the car.) Then I drive past the entrance to the Post Office. It's a glass front building. If I leave the car right in front, where I'm sure parking is not allowed but there are two other cars there, I'll be like 14 feet from the girls with a clear window between us. It will take me ten seconds to just ask so I pull up. I turn the car off, then push the remote start button so the heater stays on, lock the doors and dash in. The lady says nobody brought anything in, that I should ask at Superfresh and if no luck then to come back to her. I thank her and run back out. A policeman is arguing with another man, but seeing me he comes over. I start to apologize for parking where I knew I shouldn't have. He cuts me off asking why I left my children in the car, didn't I know there are crackheads who would steal the car not caring about the kids in the back? Didn't I know that it is illegal to be out of sight and sound of small children in a car?
On the verge of tears, I respectfully plead pointing through the window to the Post Office desk 14 ft away, "Sir, I was RIGHT there. I could SEE them." I started to say how I was just running in to ask about stamps I had left in the parking lot, but my words were getting warbled. In my head, some voice was lecturing, "You NEVER leave kids in the car!"
The policeman starts to yell. He's saying something about Maryland's laws, about how he could take me to jail right then and there. Jail? I dissolve in tears. He lets me get in the car with a final remark about children being much more important than stamps. In unintelligible sobs, I tell him that he's right. I close the door and rest my head on the steering wheel, trying to regain composure before I turn around to tell Anna everything is okay. That bit about jail still echoing, I take a breath a look up. A man in an orange vest is walking around the front of the car, looking at me. He comes to the window and I timidly roll it down thinking that he's probably parking security here to give me a ticket for parking in a fire lane- the policeman told me about that too. Being an older man, with old fashioned manners, he takes off his hat and says, "Excuse me ma'am. Are you looking for stamps?" He said he saw me driving around and figured I was looking for the stamps he had found. Through pouring tears I make out "Superfresh" on his vest as he hands me my bag of stamps. He smiles and says that he's glad I came back. I can't thank him enough for his kindness.
I'm about to drive away, when the policeman pulls up beside me in his car. Rolling the window back down, I try to look reasonably emotionally stable. He apologizes for making me cry. He'd noticed the PA plates and realized that I might not know MD laws. He reminds me that I very well could have been taken to jail for even a quick breach of the law. He also reminds me not to park in fire lanes.

I drove away, humbled. I'm thankful that God works on me. Sometimes I wish that the lessons might be a little lighter, but I probably wouldn't learn them well.


  1. Oh, Missy! What a day! Move back to PA! :)

  2. Oh! So sorry! I would've done the same thing if it makes you feel better. Move to Texas--I think kids can ride in the back of pickups around here. ;o) Just kidding...

  3. I feel like crying just reading that. How horrible! Can you eat some ice cream or somethin'?

  4. Oh, Missy. What an experience! I was nearly brought to tears BOTH times I read this post (once to myself and once aloud to Duncan) because I KNOW the feelings you experienced. Not while having a police officer reaming you out--but the feelings of having SO many decisions to make, so many problems to solve, so many people/issues demanding your full attention. It can be so wearisome! And then to be smacked in the face when you don't make the best decision! Ugh!! I think I would have made all of the same decisions that you made, if it's any consolation. And I would started to cry almost immediately.

    Tomorrow is another day and His mercies are new every morning. AND you'll have at least another 4,371 decisions to make all over again =).

  5. Wow! What are the odds that ALL of those things would happen at just the right time to make up this story. I mean, seriously, a cop happens to be in the parking lot during the 30 seconds it takes you to run in the post office?!? Nuts! Glad there is a happy ending...

  6. Wow! What a thing to have to go through, but you can see the Lord working through it and experience His lovingkindesses (I love that word).

    Being an old timer, I can remember my mother leaving me in the car while she did shopping but I was older at the time. Maybe I was watching my brother. I grew up in the time of the Lindberg kinapping and my dad had iron bars on my windows. So it wasn't all carefree in the 1930s.

  7. Missy,

    I'm so sorry about your supermarket ordeal! Sounds horrible! I hope you are feeling better and have been able to calm down.

    The tree topper came from Target but I bought it our first year of marriage which was 2006. So I have no idea if they would still sell it but you can always take a look!

  8. Missy! What an awful experience. I too am terrified about leaving my kids alone in the car. What are the odds that the policeman would show up right then? I guess it's a reminder to us all that MD has strict laws! I'll pray for a better day tomorrow!