Within ten feet of the front door there is a Starbucks. They have me at Hello. I don’t always buy a coffee. I don’t even know if I USUALLY buy a coffee…but I can. And that means something. You see, at home, if I want coffee…I have to make it. Or reheat what remains of the coffee my husband brewed in our early hours. But Target, Target has hot coffee waiting on us.
Sometimes we mamas have been sitting at home in a construction zone, avoiding laundry, and maxing out on Paw Patrol. Sometimes the temperature is rising and our boxes of last year’s spring clothes are unavailable (See: Noise in the Attic: The Trap is Set if you don’t know about our attic visitor). Sometimes it’s just that as a new mom, or a toddler mom, or a mom whose kids are all at school, you need to see pretty, organized things. You need to see shirts that don’t have baby throw up on them, or pants without grass stains. You need to see things folded and sorted and be reminded of a life you don’t often glimpse. Sometimes you just need to see another adult. Any adult really. But I find that I often see “my people” wandering the aisles of Target.
This morning it was a mom with her toddler son in tow. He was in the big cart (the one I had faced a meltdown by denying to my son), and I heard his mama say “these things don’t fit anywhere!” Amen! Preach, sister! Our sons bonded over construction trucks while we tried to find clothes that match in the girls’ department. She was shopping for a birthday party and looking for a specific size. I was shopping for life and needing ALL THE SIZES. “3 daughters! Bless you!” she said as she steered on to the next aisle…and again Target provided. We had been seen. Behind the scenes mom-ing can be pretty intense. But not usually because of the hard physical demands (although there’s some of that) quite often it’s intense because it’s monotonous and goes unnoticed. I have called to thank my mom for more things from my childhood since I’ve had kids of my own than I ever thought to thank her for in the moment. But at Target our mothering is not unnoticed. We all know.
A little girl ran by with athletic shoes and her mother tried to talk her out of the size 3’s (“You’ve outgrown 3s! You will wear them for 2 minutes and complain that they don’t fit!) YES! Been there! Yesterday! I feel you, mama! We laughed about our girls who only want to wear the same two outfits on repeat, and why do we bother, and then we both carried on with our shopping. The beauty of the Target friend is the honesty. We don’t have to pretend.
My favorite Target mom is the mom of a newborn baby. I remember those first months with each new love and how much you just need to be in the world! But in a safe place. With coffee. I raised my first babies in a town without a Target. It’s a wonder we all made it! Today’s newborn mama had a sweet sleepy baby in her arms as she shopped. That sweet sleepy girl was the perfect catalyst of quiet for my loud little boy. (Although it did lead to him shushing other shoppers to tell them “SHHH! There’s a new baby sleeping here!!”…because quiet can’t come without cost.)
During football season and months of recruiting when I don’t see my husband for days at a time there have been days when the only adult I’ve talked to has been a Target cashier. And I’m so grateful for those little interactions. A little moment in the real world can charge you up for an evening back in the motherhood trenches.
As we drove out of the parking lot today I passed another giant van, and I smiled and waved. Because I see you, Target Mom, and I wish you hot coffee, a full dollar spot, and many Target Friends along the way!