The first kid.
John is my first child. Everything he does is the first experience for all of us. He naturally is a witty, smart, and handsome kid. Someone you can talk to one-on-one for hours engaging in conversation about thoughts and ideas. A wonderful person and a wonderful kid. He is 16 years old now and about 5 ft. 9in., hopefully weighing in more than me at 160lbs (which number I say only to make sure hypothetically he’ll actually weigh more than me lol)
Today, John is now a Sophmore. He is a fully grown, hairy-legged, Axe-smelling, sock stinkin’ teenager. Well really, he is my 5 foot 9 water buffalo. Yes, teenagers are like water buffalos. Yet, when this water buffalo comes up for air..it is for a turkey sandwich. He loves his video games and burying himself in his room with —well whatever it is boys do with turkey sandwiches. I don’t ask questions.
I’ll tell ya, teens are a league of their own. I had a memory of him while walking the mall with the girls the other day. This is the story of the Escalator.
It was last year. All five kids ranging in ages 2-15 years old went school shopping. We hit countless stores including Macy’s, Claire’s, Old Navy, Target, Dillard’s…you name it, we walked through it. Six of us, toddlers in tow, a double stroller, and bags of God-knows-what.
We don’t always try to conquer everyone’s desires in one day, see, this taxing event takes several days, for several different styles (ugh), and several different children. This particular day was the end. We had seen all the stores and all the options, now we just need to finish up the last of it with some jackets and shoes. So, what do we do? Something any human would think of… go to JCPenny. Now, if you know of this place, you know it isn’t anything fancy, but packed with the basics. Secondly, packed with escalators.
Have you watched someone take an escalator with a double stroller? Look, this double-stroller is loaded down like cocaine in a Cadillac crossing the border. Imagine, there are sitting toddlers, clothes draped across the top, and bags stuffed in compartments we aren’t sure are compartments. Every inch is used up and the wheels are barely hanging on. We are a walking disaster.
As exhausted as I was, I couldn’t handle trying to find the elevator. I’d had enough. The complaining, the indecisiveness, the asking, I was done.
Done, Done, Done.
“We are taking the escalator guys. Line up.” I demanded.
“John, take the front of this stroller and just make sure we don’t all die going down.” I insisted sarcastically.
This was not new territory for us. John knew what to do. At this point, everyone was tired, and the kids knew I was cashed out. There was no kickback, they aligned and took their places.
So, we jump the escalator and John takes lead. We get about 10 feet from jumping off and transitioning from off-land to on-land and John gets stuck. He lets go of the stroller, I roll by him along with his sisters and realize, “oh no”.
“John, your shoe!!” I gasp. The escalator is eating his shoelaces and half of his shoe while on his foot!
At this point, the escalator is screaming “boooooooooonnnnnncckkk” and completely shuts down. The whole staircase comes to a jerking stop.
“Booooonnck, boooooonk, boooooonk”. A sound that clearly signifies the need for authorities to come rushing around the corner.
So, what does he do?
What any mortal would. He slips his shoe off and jerks it out, tearing off the ends of laces and the side of the shoe, and keeps walking, shoe in tow. Mortified, the rest of us jumped off the stairs, knowing John would catch up. I kept looking back wondering if the people behind us figured out what happened. Knowing, it’s probably quite obvious, the girls and I resorted to tall clothing racks to hide. Hiding a double stroller loaded down felt too stupid so I proceeded to act ignorant to the pestiferous stalling escalator. Therefore, I impulsively say, “Gosh what just happened to the escalator!” and hold my hand to my head as John comes limping over.
Walking away, we go about our business and continue to look for clothes, acting oblivious of course. Yet, our destination was unfortunately close to the scene of the event. We could see the whole tragic layout in front of us. There was nowhere to hide. I couldn’t believe this is how we ended the back-to-school madness. At this point, someone came by, turned off the alarm, and asked bystanders questions. As far as we could see, it did not get fixed.
At this point,
I probably I owe a letter of apology to JCPenny. We haven’t set foot back in that place since then. I assume they have signs posted “most wanted” around those intrusive columns they have there for us. I can imagine it saying “Perpetrator is 5 foot 9 inches and last seen with one white shoe”.
We laughed all the way home about it, still shocked how much destruction became of our entourage, we gave thanks to the end of the dismal shopping process. But, being one of our biggest tragedies we poke at each other in memory. Truly, there is never a dull moment, not with teenagers at least.
Regardless, I love the personalities and quirks of us all. It won’t be long before I’m old and getting my cane stuck in the next elevator. I’d like to see that “most wanted” sign.
In conclusion, whether you are the first kid or the last kid in your family…tie your shoelaces.
The Franny Fran Clan
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