My Easter Shoe Shopping Bandits (Pre-Easter Antics Part 2)

On a warm, sunny April afternoon, back in 2007 (when My family and I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina) I loaded my boys into the minivan in hopes of tackling the buy one, get one half off sale at our local Payless Shoes Store. My boys went through sneakers at such a rate that taking advantage of a sale was the only way that I could keep them in shoes. Kevin was ten years old, Eric (aka Rocky) was eight and Marc had just turned five. As I write this I miss the pre Jordan and Lebron sneaker shopping days that were much easier on my wallet than they are today with a house full of picky, fashion minded teenagers.

When we arrived at Payless the parking lot was packed. Wow, this must be some sale I thought, forgetting that it was the Sunday before Easter. Once inside I noticed the store was filled with kids…little girls in their “Sunday Best”, straight from church hoping to select the perfect Easter shoes to wear on Easter Sunday. Charlotte is located in the bible belt where people take dressing up for church very seriously, I thought, but I was here on a mission to get my boys new sneakers.

Of course my excited boys went in three different directions scanning the racks of sneakers while calling out to me, “Mom, what size am I?” I struggled to help all three simultaneously, yet somehow managed to get everyone situated with a pair of sneakers to try on.

Kevin was being particularly selective as he had outgrown the appeal of the sneakers with popular Disney characters and super heroes. This was surely going to be Kevin’s last year of shopping at Payless Shoes.

As soon as I finished helping Rocky find the correct size, checking where his big toe was in his shoes and tying Marc’s sneakers, they both took off like a flash. They began running around the crowded and busy store, weaving in and out between the shoppers. I called theirs names to no avail and then resorted to chasing them both down, grabbing each one by the arm.

“Boys, you can not run around in the store!” I instructed.

“But Mom, we just wanted to see if our sneakers were fast enough…” Rocky replied.

“Well, obviously they are,” I stated. “No more running in the store. Let’s go find Kevin.”

To my surprise, Kevin had actually found a pair of sneakers that he liked and a second pair of shoes (Shoes that, unbeknownst to me, he would later glue wooden blocks onto to appear taller to a girl he liked).

Perfect, three pairs of sneakers, one pair of shoes, two pairs half price. I was aware that people were staring at us. I just wanted to get to the check out and get out of this crowded store.

The lines were long and I couldn’t wait until it was our turn to check out. Shopping with three kids was exhausting and I certainly had had enough. The boys put their shoes on the counter. Finally. It was almost over. As the cashier rang up each item, I watched to make sure the second pair of shoes rung up at half price. I paid, completed the transaction and turned to hand the boys the pile of bags.

They were nowhere in sight.

Oh God, where are they? “Kevin, Rocky, Marc!” I yelled directing everyone’s attention to me. I paused to slide my bank card into my wallet.

When I looked up, there they were. Kevin, Rocky and Marc standing at the front of the store with purses hanging on each of their bent arms and peds stockings over their heads and pulled down over their faces.

What in God’s name? They looked like they were about to rob the place. It crossed my mind to just pretend I didn’t know them…that they weren’t MY kids. Nah, too late, there wasn’t a person in the store that didn’t know that I was their mother.

I dragged an armful of bags off of the counter as I approached my boys.

“What are you doing? Take those peds off of your faces!” I demanded.

“What are peds?” Rocky inquired.

“Peds are small stockings that cover your feet so you can try on shoes if you’re not wearing any socks,” I heard myself say.

The boys stared at me as if what had I said made no sense. Never mind.

“But they’re free!” Marc blurted out.

Kevin added, “Yeah, they have little boxes of them at the end of every aisle.”

As they began taking the peds off, I noticed that not only were the purses that they were holding stuffed with peds, so were all of their pockets.

“And put ALL of those back!” I ordered as the show came to an end and the crowd of onlookers began to disperse.

When we got finally got in the car I said, “Well I guess we won’t be shopping at Payless again,” as I turned the key to the ignition.

“Thank God,” Kevin mumbled.

“Why not?” Rocky asked. “It was fun! I like that store!”

“Me too!” Marc replied.

I didn’t answer. In fact I didn’t say a word.

My Life, I swear…

Why I Loath The Easter Bunny, Easter Baskets And Everything Pastel (Part 1)

Easter is just around the corner. I have friends that love Easter just about as much as they love Christmas. I am the polar opposite. I respect, enjoy and celebrate the religious meaning of Easter and all that it symbolizes… but I truly could do without the expensive Easter baskets full of sugary treats, the plastic toys (that only end up getting stepped on), the green Easter basket grass that can’t be vacuumed up (yet clings to everything) and the one random, colored egg that isn’t found until you open the fireplace for its seasonal debut. Oh, and did I mention that I abhor all of the decorating with pastel colors? Maybe it’s a reflection of my bold, outgoing personality but I love rich colors… pastels, not so much.

I loved Easter as a child and even as an adult, so I’m trying to pinpoint when I first started to dislike Easter. I guess it all started when Kevin was three years old and Eric (aka Rocky) was a baby. I was so excited about taking both of my adorable boys to the mall to have their photo with the Easter Bunny. For some reason the central part of the mall was under renovations that year and a trail of signs lead to the Easter Bunny’s new location in a vacant store.

As we entered through the one available door (both an entrance and an exit), I was relieved that there was no line. We were quickly greeted by one of the four assistants to the Easter Bunny. I smiled as I unbuckled Rocky from the stroller and grabbed Kevin’s hand explaining that they were going to get to meet the Easter Bunny and have their picture taken.

Kevin was so excited he climbed up the two steps that lead to the top of a small platform and sat right on the Easter Bunny’s left leg. That was easy, I thought, as I placed Rocky on the Easter Bunny’s opposite leg and moved out of the way for the photographer. As parents, we understand that with children there is only a small window of opportunity for a good photo. As parents, we also understand (but won’t openly admit) how badly we want this picture of our children to be perfect.

From where I stood on the floor, behind and to the left of the photographer, I could just tell that this was going to be one of those moments… one of those perfectly adorable shots. I secretly smiled my “victory” smile and held my breath as the photographer readied the camera. Hurry up I thought. Then I noticed Kevin looking down at the bunny’s feet, then up at his face and back down at his feet. Oh, please look at the camera, please smile, as I willed Kevin to remain still.

As the camera clicked, signaling the photo was taken, Kevin stood up and began yelling… “Wait a minute, you’re not the Easter Bunny – you’re a people!!!”

“I can see your ankles!” Kevin announced, while pointing at the exposed flesh showing from the gap in the material between the leg of the bunny’s costume and the beginning of the bunny’s feet.

“And I can see your eyes!” Kevin continued as he pointed at the bunny’s massive head and the human eyes visible behind the mask.

“You’re a people! You’re not the Easter Bunny!” Kevin bellowed, turning to address the people working there, as if they didn’t already know.

Rocky began to cry. I ran to retrieve him as I grabbed Kevin’s hand and pulled him off of the small platform. I glanced around nervously and noticed that a line was starting to form. I quickly approached the cashier and fumbled for my wallet.`

“He’s a people! He’s a people!” Kevin yelled.

“Kevin, that’s enough!” I said, “Please lower your voice.”

I grabbed my not so “perfect” Easter photo and managed to mutter an embarrassed “Thank you” to the staff as I strapped the baby in the stroller with one hand while holding onto the hand of  a flailing Kevin.

“He’s not the Easter Bunny! He’s a people!” Kevin yelled repeatedly, on a mission to blow the Easter Bunny’s cover and spread the word.

I kept my head down, only glancing up briefly as I headed towards the door. I had no choice but to pass the waiting crowd of parents and children in line to meet the Easter Bunny. The children looked confused and frightened. If the dirty looks that I was getting from the parents were any indication, they were pissed.

Needless to say, that was our last official visit to see the Easter Bunny and quite likely the beginning of my dislike of the Easter Holiday.

And if you think that was a funny yet embarrassing situation, wait until you read what happens in my next Easter post.  (Part 2)