Twas the afternoon before Christmas….
…. and I was at Walmart. With my almost-five-year-old son.
The primary goal: to pick up Christmas cards to mail before New Year’s (side note: still not addressed or mailed). Oh, and any other last minute items (scotch tape) required to pull of Christmas.
The secondary goal: to measure The Tackler for a bike – to be gifted to him on his fifth birthday.
What really happened: My quick run turned into over an hour long excursion.
The Christmas cards were bought without a hitch.
I risked escorting The Tackler into The Toy Section.
His next words caught me off guard.
“Mommy, I want a bike for Christmas.”
It was the first time he seriously mentioned coveting a bike, all things with pedals formerly bypassed with disdain – or at the very least complete apathy for pedaling – choosing the Flintstones Foot Method instead.
I sighed, already over budget.
We tested a few bikes.
He chose the ugliest bike I have ever seen.
But it fit.
And he actually pedaled it in the store.
Santa can bring it for him, I thought.
The Problem: How to have Santa bring the bike when The Tackler was with me in store.
Walmart closed at 8 PM.
It was 4 PM.
The Tackler was with me to deliver treats to our friends – I just wanted to include the Christmas card as well – hence the previously unplanned excursion to Walmart.
I would have to come back later.
But what if the bike was gone when I returned?
I waved down an employee. “Can you hold something for me?”
“It’s against our policy. But maybe you could put it on layaway.”
He pointed me to The Layaway Area.
Which did not really exist.
It was the site-to-store area.
Which all employees avoid.
I finally found someone and asked, “I was told I could put something on layaway here, but I want to pick it up later tonight.”
“We don’t do that anymore.”
Luckily, I was not deterred.
“May I speak with a manager, please?”
The gal disappeared as my son whined, “I want to take my bike hooooome.”
I turned to him. “Sweetie, we can’t take it home. If you’re a really good boy, we’ll leave it here with a note for Santa to bring it to our house.”
The manager appeared.
She understood The Situation and said she’d be happy to hold the bike for me… as long as I prepaid for it.
She asked for my son’s help, dictating a note to Santa for pickup.
We paid at the photo lab – the only place without a crazy long line – leaving with only the Christmas cards and a helmet.
Then we did our deliveries.
Which took much longer than anticipated, because he had to stop and play with his friends.
Then it was dinner time.
My husband and the kids went home afterward while I went on one last errand – the strategic planning in bringing two vehicles.
Santa got the memo.
Although The Tackler didn’t quite realize it at first.
He isn’t fluent in reading yet.
There was a note by his stocking.
“I had to leave your present in the garage because it wouldn’t fit down the chimney. – Santa
His grin was totally worth it.
Saturday, I biked with my son for the first time.
I hadn’t biked in ten years.
His pace allowed me to remember the basics.
It was perfect, minus some turning on slanted slope wipeouts.
The Tackler, not me.
There’s a happy ending, but Santa really shouldn’t procrastinate in the future.