Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We've come a long way, baby

They wandered up and down the aisles of the large gift shop, their eyes roving happily over the shelves around them. Their salty, red cheeks beamed with smiles as they found things that struck their fancy.

The middle boy had already decided on his souvenir. Decided before he even stepped foot outside the airport doors when he saw a large, taxidermied crocodile head. A quick check of the white price tag on the bottom confirmed that it was within his grasp. A wide grin spread over his face, revealing the lone dimple that I love.

As we towed our suitcases and headed for the door, I knew that the return trip through the airport on our way home would be forefront in his mind for the next five days.

I shadowed the other two through the hotel gift shop, always nervously mindful of breakables in little hands. The woman at the cash register made friendly chit-chat as she kept a sharp eye on her wares, as well. Eager to get back and shower the sand and salt from my body, I made helpful suggestions. Pointed out things that I knew they would love.

Each in their turn, they smiled, inspected, and then politely rejected each item I offered. They did not reach out with grabby hands for cheap, plastic toys. There was no whining and pleading for everything in sight. No rough examinations of delicate glass pieces.

They simply shopped, content.

Finally, the perfect mementos were selected and we approached the cash register to pay. The baby girl had (of course) chosen yet another stuffed animal to add to her already too-vast collection, and a pretty notebook depicting the very beach scene we were loathe to leave in the morning.

The oldest boy took a longer time deciding and chose a large starfish and a conch shell - one big enough that we could take the ocean home with us. He hesitantly lifted a third item up, seeking my approval and pleading with his eyes. When I glanced down and saw the title of the book, I knew I would buy it for him - no matter the cost.

My motherly pride practically spilling out of my heart at the decorum and class displayed by my children in a store full of toys and breakables, I could barely see through the tears to sign for the purchase.

The saleswoman had noticed it all, too. She praised me for having such polite, thoughtful children. She complimented their restraint and good manners - remarking that she had not ever seen such calm and unspoiled children in her store in the 10 years she had managed it.

As we walked out, purchases in hand, I looked at the three little heads - eagerly bent over each others bags examining the spoils - and I had to agree with her.

I think they are pretty freaking fantastic myself.

12 comments:

Emily said...

yes they are, baby. I'm hoping beyond hope to have a similar experience one day . . .

Travelin'Oma said...

And to think they hadn't even read the book yet!

Ash said...

and it's all down to you and your hubby for raising such nice mannered kids. what's the secret pls? ;)

~ash's mum

Feeling Just Right said...

Haha! This is so cute! A proud Mother is perfect- just perfect!

Rochelleht said...

Wow. Pretty sure that has never happened to us. Which is why I try NEVER to take my boys out in public. :-) My girls ALWAYS buy stuffed animals. No matter where we are in the world. So goofy!

Anna said...

Your work isn't done yet. They will give you a wild ride for the next ten years. They are off to a great start so maybe it won't be too wild. I only hope to read great posts of their escapades.

Lauren in GA said...

Stie, you are truly one of the most talented writers that I have the pleasure of reading. This was amazingly written.

...and I agree...your kids are pretty freaking fantastic.

I am so impressed by his book choice. I should buy one for my boys.

3leftturns said...

You've obviously spent too much time away from the ghettos of Dixie Valley. Time for a visit?

I would say your kids get their fantastic-ism from their mother.

Julianna said...

I just love it when my evil minions surprise me with that rare glimmer of hope that all my hard work may just pay off. Kudos to you for all your hard work raising freakin' fantastic kids!

Annemarie said...

That is a proud moment, for sure. I know I've experienced that before, but last weeks' trip to Target would prove otherwise. yikes.

Cindy said...

This is not the kind of story I would be able to share about my little ones in a gift shop. This post does give me hope, however.

Jessica said...

No wonder you don't yell anymore! Kids who are complimented after leaving a gift shop!

I will just sit and dream of the day...