Aidan was home, babysitting Archie and Teddy while I picked up the other kids from school. I had Ollie with me to make it easy on her. Archie and Teddy are typical little boys. Most of the time, they are good (or napping.) I told her we wouldn’t be home right away because we needed a few last minute snowstorm-panic items to get us through the weekend.
While at the store, I got a text from Aidan: “Archie and Teddy are being VERY naughty little boys!”
I called her and asked what happened. Throwing. Fighting. Knocking over a lamp. I told her to put Archie on the phone. He wailed that Teddy was being mean. Aidan took the phone. I assured her we’d be home soon, leaving her with advice to separate them. I wasn’t worried anyone was in danger or hurt, so I didn’t feel compelled to abandon the shopping trip and head home. By the time we’d arrive, the boys would be best friends again.
Just in case, I gave my husband a quick heads-up. His work is closer to our house than the grocery store where I was shopping. He said he was leaving soon, anyway. I texted Aidan again with the news.
As we walked through the store, we passed a display of soda. A woman was handing out free cans! The kids were gobsmacked. A WHOLE can? Not just a little cup? Like, the entire thing? For free? What? Where’s the hidden camera? They thought they won the lottery when I said they could have some. It was Friday! Storm was coming! There were several flavor choices, but all five settled on root beer. We continued shopping, heading to the dairy case via the furniture department.
I laughed out loud when I saw the restaurant-style dining booth. We’ve been joking about needing to install booths so we can maximize our tiny eating space. I thought I’d take a goofy picture and text it to my husband as a joke. The kids thought it was awesome and wanted to be in the photo. They raised their cans in a toast. CLICK. I took one photo. I hit send. Whooosh.
We were nearly done when the realization landed on my shoulder. I sent that text to Aidan. Not to my husband. I started to giggle.
She was at home, wrangling Dennis the Menace and Bart Simpson. A scene unfolded in my head:
She’s pulling her hair out when her phone dings. New text. She swipes the screen to see a photo of the rest of the kids relaxing and festively raising their drinks in the air. Haha! IN YOUR FACE.
And that’s when I started to laugh, hard. I pushed the cart, hunched over, eventually coming to a stop in the middle of the Mexican food aisle. I parked the cart on the side as people walked around us. I could not stop laughing. The rest of the kids were baffled. Just when I started to calm down, my phone vibrated. I had a text. It was from Aidan. It was this:
That nearly ended me. I think people thought I was crying. In between breaths, I told the kids why I was laughing. That picture I took? I sent it to their miserable sister, not dad. The older boys understood right away and began to laugh too. Soon, all six of us were laughing like Harvey Kneeslapper. We moved our circus to the greeting card area. The more we laughed, the more we laughed. I had tears pouring down my face. My abs ached. My face hurt. It felt great.
To make it up to Aidan, we chose two of her favorite treats to take home.
By the time I paid, we had calmed down. It really wasn’t that funny, was it? But we were caught in one of those laugh avalanches when the more you laugh, the more you laugh. And then you laugh so much, you cry. When we got home, we relived it all over when we explained to Aidan and my husband what happened.