November 2020 archive

That one Time at Kohl’s

It was cold. It was raining. It was late. We both needed to make returns, so we headed to Kohl’s. Just the two of us. These types of adventures are rare. There is often a third wheel, and she takes most of the attention. This night was different. It was calm. It was uneventful. Well, until it wasn’t.

We headed to the back of the store, where Maurmi attempted to make her first-ever Amazon return. Two shirts. Two different sizes. She quickly started in with, “This is my first time. I’ve never done this. What do you need from me?” Behind a sheet of plexiglass stood a teenage employee, who undoubtably hates his job on a normal night. This rainy eve, he was less than enthusiastic to walk her through the process. Lest I forget to mention, her hair was a mess from the rain. Her clip just wouldn’t stay still and with each new question, she went in for a restyle.

“Ma’am, I need to see your barcode?”

“I’m not sure which is which.” She laughed and adjusted her bangs.

“Ma’am, if you just let me scan it, I can figure that out.” Stone faced

“Let me grab my glasses. Oh this hair! Thank you so much for your patience.”

She’s always polite and kind and cheery. He wasn’t returning her holly jolly attitude.

“OK. That’s the small. Let me see the other code.”

At this point, I thought we might have to resuscitate him. He was fading fast.

“Here’s the large.” She presented the package and gave her bangs an adjustment.

“Your hair looks fantastic,” I remarked. In an effort to make her laugh and to see if our friendly Kohl’s associate was still breathing.

Nothing……

As she wrapped it up with Mr. Happy Holidays, I wandered off to the children’s department. I was gone exactly 10 seconds when she came running down the aisle, stopping to cross her legs and wipe the tears from her eyes.

“I swear to God! I thought it was a mirror! But it was him! I was right up in his face! This damn hair!”

It wasn’t computing. What had happened? What mirror? There was no mirror! And then I realized what she had done!

After saying their goodbyes and her attempt at exchanging pleasantries, she had taken a step to the left, put her face right up to that sheet of plexi and went after that do. What she didn’t immediately realize was that it wasn’t her reflection she was seeing. It was the employee of the month and he was shook! They almost shared a kiss and she didn’t even catch his name.

Instead of just walking away, as if nothing had happened, she tried to fix things!

“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there! I thought this was a mirror! This damn hair!”

That’s when she turned around to catch me in the aisle. As soon as I realized what had happened, I lost all control. Control of my tears, my laughter, my bladder. It was all gone. We were so loud that I’m surprised we weren’t asked to leave. Once we gained a tiny bit of composure, we finally walked away…..In the distance I swear I heard him say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…….”

 

To My Middle Child, I See You

To My Sweet Middle Child,

When you are always the one who has to share a room because there is one brother above and one brother below. When you sit in the backseat because your older brother is bigger than you and he beats you to the car. When you wear your older brother’s hand-me-down sweatshirts because they “still have plenty of wear left.” When you share with your younger brother because he just wants to be like you. When you close your eyes and say a prayer every single time you see an ambulance or hear a firetruck go by. Even when you think that I don’t, I see you.

Being in the middle can be tough. Sometimes you get less of me because I am worried about your older brother making good grades, and good choices, and setting a good example for his younger siblings. Often times, I have to spend more time with the younger one because he is still learning to do math, and about subjects and predicates, and has to work on his spelling words. He needs more of me than you do. But when you are quietly doing your homework alone, eating a snack, and working as hard as you can. I see you.

You may not realize it, but you are the most important sibling to each of your brothers. They both look to you as a mentor, confidant, and friend. Your older brother has known you the longest. You are his very best friend and he will tell you his deepest and darkest secrets. He looks to you for advice. He values your opinion. And the baby brother, he looks up to you. He loves sharing your room because he gets to stay up later and he has access to your Dog Man collection. He thinks you dress and act cool. He wants glasses so he can look like you. It takes a special person to switch hats and be so many things for different people. When you share your things and your time. I see you.

When you are feeling unloved, underappreciated, and generally underwhelmed. When you think that no one has it as tough as you. When no one understands you because they don’t carry the weight of being an older and younger brother. When your feelings are hurt. When all you want to do is spend five mintues alone in your own space. When you are trying your hardest to keep it all together, but you just need to cry. I see you.

When you are laughing at a great joke. When you come running out of school with a smile on your face. When you get the remote first and get to decide what to watch on TV. When you get a great grade on a test you studied so hard for. When you push your glasses up on your wrinkly little nose. When you smile and give me a hug for no reason. I see you.

Thank you for being our peacemaker and our voice of reason. Thank you for making sandwiches while I am on a call or working under a deadline. Thank you for carrying down a laundry basket or grabbing the trash and taking it out. Thank you for watching TV with your brother when you’d much rather be playing Minecraft with your friends. Thank you for always remembering to take a shower and to brush your teeth. Thank you for being agreeable and kind. And thank you for being so special to all of us. We need you. We love you. We appreciate you. We’d be lost without you. And never forget, we all see you.

Love,
Mom