My Wife’s Gift: A Guest Post

I don’t even know where to begin. I adore my wife. She’s real and has such passion for writing and telling good stories. Sometimes I just grimace, wince, and laugh all at once when I read the things she writes. I often wonder how our family can seem so normal and like such a calamity all at once.

Well, I was reminded that this is OUR normal. I took all three kids shopping Sunday evening to Marshall’s, so they could get their mom something for Christmas. Yes, I took the three year old. After all, I said to myself, “Kristen does it all the time.”
As we started down the road, we went over our list of possible presents: pajamas or clothes. Before we ever make it to the store, there is a full blown fight over name calling. Mediation and apologies.
At the store there is much disappointment. The p.j.’s are picked over. We cover the pajama aisle at least seven times, because I am a man, and I am thorough. Nothing. Plan A is ruined and I don’t really have a plan B because I was sure we could find a cute set of long sleeve p.j.’s with pants.
Okay, let’s look at clothing. Same story second chapter. Nothing. During this time the three year old has gone from the front of the cart, to the main part of the cart, to underneath the cart on her tummy. Now I’m pushing her around the store as she lays in the bottom of the cart with her feet dragging out the front.
We head over to the Petites and after another thirty minutes, finally pick something out. Did I mention that we were on a $25 budget? Doable for sure, but takes some work. 
Oh, hold on, the three year old is crying because her feet are stuck in the bottom grid of the cart. As I’m getting everything fixed, “Honey do you need to go to the bathroom? It really stinks down here?” “No daddy.” Two minutes later in a very loud laughing voice for the whole store to hear, “Daddy, I tooted again.”
How does Kristen do this? We have to get out of this store. 
My exasperated son is elated that we are finally going home. My oldest daughter is happy with our choice. No surprise the line has at least eighteen people in it, but it is moving very fast. I concentrated on keeping six hands from picking up everything for sale in the register line.
My oldest pipes up and let’s me know that the three year old’s pocket are filled with the little tags that go on the hangers to tell you what size you are grabbing. I inform said three year old that this is stealing and she has to put them down. “No daddy.” I take them from her and she begins to scream. I give in. Because I know how to pick my battles. And, I chose thievery.
The line moves forward. We are in front of the coke refrigerator and everyone is thirsty. I grab a coke zero to share; open it up and hand it to the three year old. As she is drinking (okay shoot me. I gave a three year old a carbonated beverage. I was desperate, ladies) I stealthily take the hanger tags out of her jacket pockets and place them on a shelf.
“Register five is open.” We make our way to the register as the soda gets passed between the four of us. I forget I have children with me (yeah – total dad mistake) and start paying for the purchase. I vaguely remember telling the three year old she can hold the closed coke bottle, as spray begins pouring over me, the counter, the other two kids and the floor. She was still shaking it when I took it away from her. 
I’m embarrassed and laughing at the irony of being THAT family once again. After cleaning up the floor with paper towels and washing it down with a spray bottle, we finally make it out the door.
My nine year old looked at me, “Dad, I just wanted to drift away because that was so embarrassing.” Me too. I shuffle everyone to the car, ready to get home. 
We were supposed to make one more stop, but I wasn’t ready for round two.
Now, I know why my wife encouraged me to take all the kids shopping for her gift. 
An hour alone was really the gift she wanted all along! 
Lucky her, she got two [hours]!

Comments

  1. 7

    says

    What a brave man! Prince Charming you must be! What a gift to give your wife!

    I loved this post! Makes me glad my kids are grown! Been there, done that!

  2. 9

    Anonymous says

    Thank you for your post. You got to see a *glimpse* of your wife's life – from taking the kiddos on an outing, to experiencing THOSE moments in public, to blogging! You have such a wonderful family, open communication, and a loving relationship. I pray the Lord will bless me with such an understanding and compassionate husband someday! Have a safe and happy Christmas!

  3. 11

    says

    I agree the hours alone were a gift! And so is your empathy now! It's nice to know that when the fathers take the kids out, these things happen too, although it does seem that you guys are much more calmer than us ladies–it must be a gift!!

  4. 13

    says

    When my dh has a "challenging" time like this with our 3, I reply "Welcome to my world!" ….it is also the name of my blog!

    Time alone – a precious gift for any Mum.

  5. 15

    says

    so funny because it is such a common experience.
    dealing with: young kids, strong wills, crowd control (any time you are outnumbered it is crowd control parenting), bodily functions, tantrums, loud voices with not quite social appropriate comments, eyes watching (and judging), all while attempting to attain a supposedly simple goal… yep that is daily parenting in public.
    No wonder time on one's own is the perfect gift …and the bow is having one's spouse get to have the joy of the experience occasionally – does everyone the world of good.
    Merry Christmas

  6. 16

    says

    Awwe – that was a great guest post! And a stealthy way to get an hour alone, great job Kristen! :) Ive seen THAT family before – I just smile and lend a hand if I can. They're just kids and they're going to make messes and get into trouble and try to test their limits but that's all apart of the fun of growing up!! But sounds like you both had fun.

  7. 17

    says

    Practice makes perfect. Take the kids out enough and you will get the hang of it–that instinct that rings when you know it is either too quiet, something (or one) is about to erupt, etc. I think you did very well!

  8. 19

    says

    We can all relate and yes "alone time" is such a blessing. Good for you for venturing out during this hectic time with 3 kids. Enjoyed the post~ Thanks

  9. 25

    Nicole says

    Thanks for the laugh!

    Here I am sitting on the couch exhausted on day 3 of winter break thinking I will not make it through the new year and you tell THIS story. You got me beat by a long shot!

    LOL

    :)

  10. 27

    says

    Oh Mr. Kristin, you made my day! "I know how to pick my battles, and I chose theivery." I just about spit out my coffee!! Tooooo funny!
    I would swear we are "that family #2" (only because you got the name first! haha and we are now in teenage years x 3, + a 7 year old) so yes, this is my life! LOL
    God bless you for your transparency, your honesty, and your integrity in the Lord!! You give us the ability to step back and see that WE are NOT the only ones struggling day by day!
    I hope your Christmas is filled with joy and happiness, and your new year is blessed in abundance!!
    Thank you for the gifts you give us readers each day!
    xo
    Brenis

  11. 29

    says

    Way to go Dad – you survived and no one was injured in the process.
    My 6 year old was under the cart at Target the other day and I was so nervous she would get her foot stuck. After about 5 minutes I made her get out – the anxiety was getting to me and I was seeing us being "that" family requiring assistance to free her from the cart. Fortunately we were able to avoid that one!

    Merry Christmas to you all!

  12. 30

    Pixie says

    LOL! My hubby and I both enjoyed your post. We have 6 kids, so even when BOTH of us are along, the scene you describe is pretty typical!

    We're glad to be in good company~keeps us all humble, too!

    Merry Christmas to all of you!

  13. 31

    says

    This wins best post of the Christmas season for me! So funny, I can SEE it happening. My children are grown now but I remember their Dad taking both of them (only 2 he would have freaked out at 3)and shopping for Mom. Yes the time alone was worth millions but the love of Dad time with the kids is also precious. The humor is what makes it all ok, Yep, You are THAT family and I'm so glad you share it with us.

    Linda

  14. 37

    says

    My hubs is a sweetie and often takes se7en of our eight shopping!!! Groceries mostly, it is a lot easier to plonk a couple of wanderers in a shopping cart than trying to shop for pajamas!!! That being said – it is a lot easier for me because I get a whole lot more practice!!! Well done to you every effort is very satisfying to us moms!!!

  15. 38

    says

    You handed a 3yo an OPEN POP in a STORE?!?! I'm really bummed that I missed that! Although the pictures that went through my head when I read that were *almost* as good LOL

  16. 40

    says

    You brave man and awesome husband. I laughed until tears streamed down to my chin. We have FIVE children and I relish the times when my husband is kind(foolish) enough to take them all out for an hour or two.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It totally made my day. :-)

  17. 46

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