Each week the kids and I travel to the local Weis store to purchase groceries; a task that used to be daunting with two under the age of four, a task which used to frighten me and cause great anxiety. I've gotten over that, now I just drag the kids, not caring what the outcome might be. Surprisingly, we have gotten into a comfortable groove. Julie drives the car in front of the cart, Joe darts from item to item "Dis on da yist? Mommy is DIS on da yist? Mommy, you tell me whats on da yist and I'LL put dit in da cart, K?" If we have a "good time" in the store (Mommy has not pulled out her hair, impulsively screamed, or cried openly) each wee shopper gets to get a treat from the gumball machines. This strategy has proven successful for me, I like it.
Well, each week Joe asks about the colossal gumballs, various fruit-shaped-small-apple-sized gumballs in a huge gumball machine that costs 50 cents to purchase. The first time he saw them he exclaimed "Mommy, Mommy! BIG GUMBALLS?? I want a BIG GUMBALL!" I pointed out the "Out of Order" sign on the front and said "Those gumballs are out of order. Let's choose one of tese down here." Since then, each week Joe studies the machines, points to his beloved hug gumballs and states "Mommy, its still out of order".
Well, not this week.
This week, a scream could be heard all over Weis and the parking lot beyond. Sort of like a primal cry, a scream that comes from deep within...a little boys dream fulfilled.
"MOMMY! IT IN ORDER! IT IN ORDER!!!!!!"
Sweet thing, we only had two quarters, one for the girl and one for the boy. He understood...next time we come to Weis, he could get his ginormous gumball.
Well, this morning, Joe was looking through his money bucket..."MOMMY TWO QUARTERS!!!!!!! TWO QUARTERS!!!!!! I CAN GET MY GUMBALL!!!" Props to the kid for knowing what a quarter is. This meant a trip to Weis this A.M. I added that to the list of places to go right after the playground and the library this morning. NOTE: The snack man was filling the vending machine at the library and gave the kids each a bag of Skittles. They ate a few, then each chose to save the rest of the bag in order to get their gumballs.
Time warp to the Weis store...a joyous boy, a huge purple gumball. Lick lick lick, holds it up, a stained purple smile, "Mommy, I can't get dis, you help me?" Picture me, Joe and Julie, standing around sweating in the July heat in front of Weis while I literally gnaw on this colossal gumball, just trying to make a dent in it so the boy can begin his chewfest 2011. I finally break through, now covered in permanent purple stain, and hand over the victory to the kid. He smiles and knows...he's happy.
Time warp to 10 minutes later in the van...a sad, frustrated boy, the purple stain creating a sad-clown effect. "Joe, what happened to your gumball?"
"I don't yike it anymore."
"What happened Joe? Why don't you like it?"
"I don't yike da inside, it's too hard."
"Are you going to get a big gumball next time?"
"No. I yike Skittles."
A great lesson learned for the boy and for me.
He got his chance at the biggest, what he thought would be the best. He tried it out, found disappointment, yet was able to pull himself out of the slump and look towards what he already had...Skittles are just fine.
I have been reminded that going all out, trying for the biggest and more is not always a happy ending. Sometimes I need to stick with what I have right now, be happy with the present, in order to find peace.