So my friend Christen and I went to the mall on Wednesday.
…along with our two strollers and five kids.
…ages 4, 3, 2, 10 months, and 8 months.
(Each child, by the way, adds degree of difficulty points in the classical mall game Avoid the Kiosk Predators.)
We began by eating Chick-Fil-A – our standard diet. Amazingly, everyone ate, no one spilled a drink, and no one cried.
A good day, indeed.
Then we decided to treat the kids to playtime on the Hot Dog Truck, a fond place with many memories.
But first, we headed back to Chick-Fil-A for drink refills. Mammas need their caffeine.
Fully armed and ready to take our parade o’ crazy upstairs, we rounded the corner to the elevators and pushed the button.
The doors dinged, so we and our impressive entourage headed toward it.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another woman also headed our way. It was one of those awkward moments where you’re not sure if she was waiting before you, and whether or not you should pause and allow her the elevator right-of-way.
But I didn’t.
(At the time, it seemed that trying to stop our herd to allow her through would take longer than simply allowing the momentum to continue and then let her board after us.)
(This was a wrong assumption.)
Aubrey, the two year old, made it onto the elevator first.
Luke, the three year old, was behind her.
Ali was somewhere, but I don’t quite know where.
Christen and I made the mistake of both pushing our strollers toward the elevator at the same time, thereby blocking either of us from being able to reach said destination.
Then the doors began to close.
Luke IN the doorway.
Christen yelled and lunged for the button.
She didn’t make it, but the doors sensed Luke and stopped.
Then we both tried to board again.
At the same time.
(I take full responsibility for this awkward moment of stroller blockage, seeing as how it was her children on the elevator, and mine was nowhere in sight. CLEARLY, I should have backed off.)
(Unfortunately, these sorts of thoughts don’t happen to me in the appropriate split seconds.)
The doors began to close.
Luke, puzzlingly, still in the doorway.
Luke jumped back out of the elevator, and the doors sealed shut.
Aubrey was still inside, and about to take her first solo trip in the glass elevator.
This time, Christen jammed her stroller into the doors, yelling for her two year old, or at the doors, or something.
Levi, the baby in said stroller, began squealing in protest of being made into a human barricade.
(And he has quite the impressive mall-shaking squeal, might I add.)
The Lady also wanting to board the elevator – oh, she was still there, looking on in horror.
Christen managed to make it to the button just in time to make the doors reopen. Since she was at the button and not driving her stroller, I hurriedly jammed Noah and my stroller into the elevator doorway, trying to prevent a charming third event.
When I got halfway through the doors, they began to close (thereby winning the award for MOST OVERAMBITIOUS ELEVATOR DOORS EVER), this time catching my cupholder in the melee, which crunched and knocked out my freshly refilled Large Unsweet Tea. I watched in horror as my drug of choice dropped and rapidly leaked into the elevator shaft, doorway, elevator, mall floor, my shoes, and everywhere else it could possibly seep.
I left my only son jammed in the elevator doorway, picked up my abusively deformed caffeinated beverage, and ran to the nearby trash can, dripping all the way.
When I got back, God must have caused one of those cool time-freezing moments like he did a couple times in the Old Testament, because we managed to actually get two strollers, five children, and two Mammas through the elevator doors.
I held the “Doors Open” button with an especially firm fingertip as we counted our brood.
And then I saw The Lady – still standing in front of the elevator, looking a bit awestruck.
“Um, do you still want to get on with us? It may or may not be safe.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Are you SURE??”
She delicately stepped over my ice and tea and squeezed herself between Christen’s stroller and the wall, looking warily at each of the children surrounding her as if they were an encroaching brigade of rabid paramilitary.
And then we rode up, pretending to be dignified, totally together, in-control Moms.
I don’t think she bought it.