So today I went to Chattanooga to make a LifeWay run (needed more No Other God books!) and since I was there, I planned on making a visit to the mother ship: Target. I had quite a list of things I needed to get for vacation and was just a TAD BIT EXCITED about going for the first time in a couple of months.

Yes, I said months. You can weep silently.

The only downside to my little escapade was the fact I had to take all four kids with me.

Never mind about weeping silently. You may wail out loud. I did.

I currently only have one pair of shorts to my name that have been bought in the past five years so I really hoped to find a couple of pairs for the beach. I put The Girl in the cart and breathed murderous threats to the boys about how they’d better stay right beside me while I looked in the clothing department.

Don’t even ask how that worked out for me.

Boy Number Three decided it would be great fun to climb underneath all the clothing racks. He also thought it was a scream to point out bras and panties to his brothers and snicker his little head off. It just went downhill from there.

The Boys were supposed to go to a ball team swim party that night so I told Boy Three as a consequence of acting like a moron, he absolutely would not go. “Oh, but if I’m a perfect angel the rest of the time will you take it back?” I told him yes knowing there was no way he’d ever pull it off. Then I wondered what in the world I was doing to myself? Have you ever punished your kids to your own detriment? Tonight was Girls’ Bible Study and his not going swimming meant I would have to deal with him whining the rest of the evening. I didn’t think about that until I had already spoken or I would have thought up some torture Luke would have to dish out. However, in order to preserve my credibility, I stood my ground.

Now Boy Three is known for trying his best to sweet talk himself out of trouble. Since he could tell I was resolved in not letting him swim, he resorted to Plan B while we were in the dressing room: Excessive Flattery. While I was trying on clothes, Rico Suave pulls this one:

“Wow, mom. How much weight did you lose? Cause it really shows. I mean, you look skinny. And I do mean skinny.”

Who trains these boys to know at such a young age how to get straight to the heart of a woman?

Anyway, you know I bought that line – NOT. But I have to admit it’s better than being told how large I am by a certain Girl.

Within fifteen minutes I was ready to leave the kids on the sidewalk with a ‘Free To Good Home’ sign around their neck. I abandoned my entire shopping list and only left with two cotton shirts off the clearance rack. (Which were black and gray even though I’d resolved to only buy color this spring. Representative of my mood, I suppose.)

So we go into the parking lot and guess what?

No Suburban.

I was absolutely certain of where I’d parked it. The kids and I walked row after row and I was thoroughly convinced someone had stolen my car. Just as I was about to cry, and man and wife pulled up to ask if they could help me and I told them,

“I just know I parked my car right there under that tree and it is gone! Someone has stolen my car!”

The man was so gracious and offered to drive the parking lot for me to see if he could find any clues. In the meantime, I kept walking all the while crunching numbers and realizing there was no way I would be able to replace the car with the insurance pay out. And then there was vacation. How were we going to go on vacation if the car was gone? I was in full-on panic mode.

And then I saw the Nice Man.

And he was pointing at a Suburban.

My Suburban.

That I had parked in an entirely different part of the parking lot than I remembered.

You know what’s so scary? I still have no recollection of parking in that particular space. So I’m thinking there are two options:

1. I’ve been Punk’d.

2. I’m suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the 4-Kid Trip to Target.

I vote for the latter.

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