Target Practice

Mary Liz Ingram —  November 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

Over the river and through the wood, to Homestead Hollow we go…old cabins and smokehouses, bee hives and broom makers, blacksmiths and craft tents, hillbilly sandwiches and fried pies. A perfect Fall Saturday in the heart of the South, we come, we eat, we see, we walk, we explore, we buy. With the kids carrying their name-stamped horse shoes, homemade brooms and toy bows with eraser-tipped arrows, we truck it back through the field-turned-parking-lot to the car.

Arriving home and practically falling out of the car in haste, the kids bolt across the driveway into the yard, finding the perfect bullseye in a hole in the wooden fence. Target practice begins.

We practice through mornings and afternoons, through a week and into tomorrow. We are good at aiming, elbows up, strong and steady. Bullseye.

The weather turns cold, the children wear shorts: time for clothes shopping. In the midst of “the great purge of 2013,” I have to buy more. Children grow, you know.

Just minutes away from the hole in the fence, I am a walking target.

I enter the game fully aware, readily on guard. The bullseye stares at me from high above: Target. It mocks me from the carts, the bags, the signs, the door, the elevator buttons.

List clutched, I’m determined to escape with my wits and minimal, resourcefully chosen items. Silly store, you can’t distract me with your fabulous…oh, look at that dress…  Wait, wait, where was I. Target, I won’t be swayed by your…aw, look at those little shoes! Argh! Shake it off. That sweater looks so comfy. No! We’re headed THIS way.

Assaulted from every side with beautiful things I don’t need, my children are right there with me. “Mommy, can I pleeeease have these boots???” “Oh, Mommy, I just want ONE of these toys, just ONE, okay????” I try to clear the mist from my eyes and I make a firm buggy-beeline for the toddler section. Watch me focus! Watch me resist! Using my willpower, I explore the $5 mix and match display, ready to choose wisely.

But then the children start spinning. The baby – who was let out of her seat due to ear-piercing shrieks – starts ransacking the sock display and takes off in one direction with a pair of blue socks. My son dives into a clothes rack somewhere to my left. With my scary-calm, slow-speaking mom voice, I regroup my little posse and try to pick out some leggings to match this cookies & milk shirt. The baby hightails it right with her sassy walk and the son chases after. The pattern continues. I don’t even know what I’m saying, or what colors I’m choosing anymore. These look good. Sure, this is probably right. Get back over here. Stop throwing the leggings on the ground! Son, where are you! Get back over here. Don’t grab those. Where are the d@*# long-sleeved white t-shirts??

They’ve broken me. I’m a broken, easy target. Thanks store, with your beautiful objects and eye-level treasures.

The arrows start flying; I just want to make it out alive. Sure, you can have those shoes. Here are some pants, these look good. I just start grabbing.

Somehow, I held on long enough to stick (mostly) to my list, only having one rogue pair of pants that somehow made it into the buggy.

With “sucker” written all over me, I trudge my way to the car, all three kids attached to me in some form, my bags – with their red target logos all over them – hang somewhere off my body.

We survived.

Target Practice, Ink Doodle

Target Practice, Ink Doodle

Mary Liz Ingram


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