I was at Target. Alone. On the drive over, I had felt free enough to blast Katy Perry’s “Roar” at a deafening volume. Nobody was there to criticize my love for the song or change the lyrics to something offensive (*cough* husbandIamlookingatyou *cough*). I got to enjoy it. And you know what? I dare you to listen to it without feeling like “hey, this song SPEAKS to me.”
Anyway, to say I was looking forward to this little excursion is embarrassingly understated. Any mom can tell you that going to Target alone is like a vacation. Heck, going to Target before I was ever married or a mom was still a good time.
But, as I have noticed with increasing frequency, life is permanently altered after having children. Even things you think wouldn’t change (like going to Target alone) do. I had a pressing urgency. To get to my stuff. An urgency to enjoy my time. My hour alone was ticking away. I didn’t have time to slowly meander up and down the aisles. I was flustered with the pressure of this time alone. I should have done more planning. Should have made a list. Should have grouped the items together in ways that made sense.
Well, I didn’t do that. So instead I camped out in a corner aisle frantically browsing my Pinterest list. What was the secret ingredient to that homemade foot scrub I always want to make but never have?? Where is that pin?? Middle aged woman who is glaring at me because I am semi-blocking the nail polish I SEE YOU. JUST GIVE ME A SECOND. Mother planted firmly in front of the baby pouch food, staking your claim to the aisle like you own the place – well played. I hate you, but I respectfully move on. Today will not be my day to browse pouched baby food.
I imagine for a man, Target with his wife and baby/child may be exactly what Hell looks like. A couple with a baby walked in the same time I did, already fighting. “I am not getting a cart. He won’t ride in a cart and then I’m going to be the one holding the baby and pushing the cart.” I crossed paths with the man several times, each time the look in his eyes was becoming more and more desperate. He looked at me with a mixture of jealousy and exhaustion in his eyes. I tried to make him look in my cart so he would see the large box of diapers. Then I would say to him telepathically “See?? I’m one of you.”
I thought back to a simpler time, like when I used to spend 13 hours debating the properties of different baby blankets with my mom at 28 weeks pregnant. Or when I would visit Target when I was away at college and homesick, how walking in to Target just felt like home. Or when I was like, ‘I’ve had a long week. I think I will go to Target and get myself “something”.’ All that frivolous time and spare money I didn’t even know I had.
At the end of the trip I managed to fit $150 worth of stuff into two bags, per usual for Target. Also, I was stuck in line behind some lady who needed to claim some coupon for a free Swiffer refill that was expired but she didn’t remember the last time she was in. Or something like that. Oh AND she wrote a check. I didn’t even care. I got an extra five minutes of “vacation” to look at the covers of tabloid magazines and decide if it would be beneficial to have a Tide to-go pen in my purse now that I’m a mom.
As I walked back to my car, I wondered when my next rendezvous alone with Target would be. I was a little sad. But Katy was waiting for me in the car, ready for another rendition of “Roar”. Life is good.