It came to pass today that I found myself on a trip to Costco without any children in tow and WOW. It’s hard to explain what that felt like. It was cathartic, it was dream-like. It was like the minute during labor that your epidural kicks in and you go from being crazy, panicky, and loud to being calm, serene, and collected. But it’s not so much what I did at Costco as what didn’t happen that made it so other-worldly.
No one, for example, was suddenly starving and had to eat a piece of pizza before we could enter the store.
Since we weren’t eating pizza, no one suddenly had to go to the bathroom that is half a mile away and then return to the eating area to find that all our food had been tossed and we had to start over.
No one fought about where he wanted to sit in the cart.
At no point did my cart have so many boys hanging onto its sides that it wouldn’t fit down an aisle.
No one needed to change where they were sitting in the cart every ten steps.
No one tried to squeeze himself into the bottom part of the cart below the basket, and no one tried to also fit, and no one screamed at each other because neither would fit together.
No one filled up the entire shopping trip with questions like, “Why are we buying bread because we need it to make sandwiches?” and, “Why do they have lights to make it so we can see in the store?”
No one cried. Nobody! Not even a little!
No one insisted that they push the cart instead of me.
Because of that,no one had to apologize to other shoppers when the cart rammed into them.
No one tried to pry my fingers off the shopping cart handle because he was feeling threatened by my invasion of what was clearly his territory.
No one got tired of being in the cart and had to be carried for most of the time while I also pushed the cart with the two boys on its sides and did the shopping.
No one was overcome with the immediate need to pee (yes, AGAIN) when I was next in line to check out.
-I did not hand the cashier an opened, half-eaten, ravaged bag of Cheetos that we essentially stole first, then paid for.
No one tried to push all the buttons on the credit card machine.
No one fought about who got to hold the receipt on the way out of Costco.
No one mauled anyone down to be the first in the car.
And one person was feeling so thrilled by this hour of independence that she followed up the Costco trip with the Starbucks drive-thru, not because she wanted coffee necessarily but just because she wanted to experience a little more of no one.
And it was good.