I used to thoroughly enjoy visiting Costco. This was before I had three young children (plus one baby in the buggy) who apparently rehearse and scheme to put on a show in this classic venue. I can’t blame them, I mean– Costco is the ultimate shopping experience: Home Depot, A grocery store, and a toy store all combined into one very large place with wide aisles and large crowds (audiences).
I’ll be honest, taking all the kids out and about practically anywhere draws attention. We are noticed, smiled at, and sometimes laughed at. I’m cool with that. But at Costco– the kids are extra obnoxious. Three sets of little legs— running, hiding, and moving– sometimes in all different directions. Every time I pull into the Costco parking lot I take a few extra deep breaths, put on my “I don’t care” happy face and make sure my list is handy because it’s a guarantee my children will make me forget within two minutes why I’m there in the first place.
We barely make it past the ID card check and mine are darting off saying “Mommy can I have this— mommy can I have that?” I steer them forward, marching bravely as I order them in my determined voice, “Line up and follow me.” The real trouble arises though when they spot samples. You know, sadly, this was previously my favorite part about Costco trips. I remember actually trying to be there on times when they would have the most sample booths open (C’mon, free hor’derves folks).
The kids run towards the sample stations (I try to stop them, I do, I do!!) and hover over the food, breathing right at tray level as they try to figure out the mystery of what the sample is. Loudly, the oldest typically says one of the following statements: “Mmmmm, I want that!” or “Eww, that’s gross.” I tell them to grab one quickly, move away from the tray, and say thank you. The sample attendant sighs with the annoyance that they just lost four samples from the tray in seconds to someone who is very unlikely to buy the product. Yeah, sorry ‘bout that…
If you’re reading this and nodding I’ve probably seen you at Costco. Or better yet, you’ve seen me and my bunch and thought you to yourself “At least my kids aren’t that wild.” It’s probably true! Mine aren’t always this crazy. Costco is just the stage where they choose to display their extreme amounts of energy. (Anyone with me on this?)
During todays adventure I began to pity myself as I became a bit embarrassed at their behavior and some of the awkward glances I got. I began to think– why can’t my kids just behave? Why are they so wild?! I began to briefly wonder how again I ended up with four young children when just a few years ago (in college) I regularly told people I didn’t want any kids at all.
As I had this brief moment of wallowing in crazy kid anxiety– God gently reminded me of just how fortunate I am. The reminder didn’t come by having my children magically behave (wouldn’t that have been nice) but by making me thankful for the privilege of shopping at Costco. For the money to buy things in BULK when so many families in my community are struggling week by week to buy the necessities. For the luxury of being able to try a food that isn’t on my list– and if it is exceptionally delicious– to have the ability to purchase it without bursting our budget. In this economy so many struggle for simple things like food and hygiene products. It’s so easy to forget, be naive or simply turn a blind eye to the poor and less fortunate because it makes us as humans uncomfortable. The spirit of ungratefulness in American culture is so prevalent that we’ve adapted it as an acceptable attitude!
Next time you are having “one of those days” out in public with your kids, take the gratefulness test. It will snap you out of the temporary embarrassment and leave you with a heart of gratitude. Not just for monetary blessings and provision, but also for the little monkeys in front of you. Yes, those sweet little ones that embarrass you, make you laugh, and bring you joy!