I Wish I Could Take Dad To Walmart

There was always a question my dad would ask me that would strike fear in the deepest part of my heart and cause ice water to course through my veins:

Will you run me to the grocery store?   

The problem with that question is that there was no running Dad anywhere.  This was the man that shook his fist at Father Time and said, ‘You will wait for me!’  Well, maybe he didn’t shake his fist…but he shook his head and grinned and quite literally sauntered about his business.  It really wasn’t a matter of pride or ego that made Dad eschew the principles of time itself…the man was just never in a hurry about one thing.

Not one thing.

When I would pull up to take him on his errand, checking my watch and calculating the minutes until my next To Do, he may or may not have remembered I was taking him on this particular day and most definitely would not have his shoes on yet.  And you can bet that one bag of groceries he needed would turn into an all-day affair with countless unscheduled stops throughout the store with discussions on the finer points of things like the merits of Deviled Ham and the veracity of the National Enquirer.  I would get so frustrated with this sweet, slow man on about Aisle 6 I felt like I could squeeze an unripe cantaloupe in half with my bare hands.  I had somewhere I needed to be and stuff I needed to get done and I didn’t want to be here wasting time at the store…

About a month after my dad passed away, I was talking to my brother on the phone and he said something that drove a knife right through my heart.  He said, ‘I would give anything to take Dad to Wal Mart right now.  I would let him take as long he wanted and I would let him look at everything he wanted to.’

Yes.  What I wouldn’t give…

This hard lesson I learned…you would think it would stick because it burned like everything hot.  Still, I catch myself now doing that thing…ordering my day around my To Do List instead of my people.  Telling the kids to ‘Hurry! Hurry!’ and ‘in a minute’ and ‘not now’.  And not just them.  I might avoid a conversation in the doctor’s office waiting room because I have to get some emails sent or keep my window rolled up and wave politely because I am late to the gym.

Is my To Do more important than our connection?

Certainly not.

Now I understand we can’t just hang out all day and act like we have nowhere to be…that’s not it.  Stuff, most definitely, needs to get done.  But in our rushing, we miss perfectly beautiful moments of wonderful disguised as distractions.

As it turns out, one of my children has inherited my Dad’s (nonexistent) sense of urgency.  If I don’t adjust my pace to hers, school mornings are a full-on fire drill.

She reminds me of the gift of presence.

What about you?  Is it hard for you to be anchored in the moment?

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Katherine Otero | 18th Oct 13

    Melissa, I needed to read this exact thought today. Beautiful sentiments, reminds me of shopping with my grandparents when I was in High School, and what I would give for one more day to do that again. You made me cry this morning…good cry.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Katherine, Thank you for your sweet words. I cried like a baby when I wrote it…this was a good reminder for me, too.

  2. Ali | 18th Oct 13

    Ada at church told me once…. Jesus was always busy, but never hurried. I love thinking about that

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Oh, Ali…this is an image I can wrap my mind around. I will not forget this one. Thank you.

  3. shonda rogers | 18th Oct 13

    Awesome – thanks, Melissa…i rarely take a minute and tune everything out to actually stop and read…anything…(sad, but true) and i’m happy i did this morning. BTW, the image of chum necklace and chicken socks is imprinted on my brain 🙂

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Thank you, sweet friend…I barely have time to read stuff, either, so I know what a high compliment this is. Chum necklace…who doesn’t write about chum necklaces everyday? 😉

  4. Lori Lehrmann | 18th Oct 13

    “Stuff, most definitely, needs to get done. But in our rushing, we miss perfectly beautiful moments of wonderful disguised as distractions.”

    This. This pierced my heart. I love your guts, sister. Thank you for sharing.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      I love your guts. Like really. Thank you for being my cheerleader…I never feel alone on this journey.

  5. Sara | 18th Oct 13

    What a wonderful and so true story. I too froze at those words. He did saunter down the aisles pondering this or that. Not a care or hurry in the world. Just always in the moment. Thanks for this. Now I’m crying like a baby. Those boots covered in red clay dirt will never be filled.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      What a beautiful image about Dad’s boots…maybe writing runs in the family…I love you.

  6. Sarah | 18th Oct 13

    God has used you to speak truth to me, again, on an issue I struggle with. He used the Beatitudes yesterday, reminding me that it’s not ‘me’atitudes….
    In our weaknesses, He is made strong. Praying for all of us moms, wives, daughters, sisters, friends….

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      A good word…me-atitudes…now you are speaking truth to me. I love that He knows our struggles and ‘He is made strong’ in them…will be chewing this one today. I love you.

  7. Julie | 18th Oct 13

    I remember taking dad to Walmart when I was pregnant with Harry, the boys were on spring break so we all went. He stayed in there for 30 minutes, we circled the parking lot 40 times and then he had to go back in to get his gal a birthday card. Man I miss him. Your so right about the hurry up in life, I need to remind myself of this every day. I love you.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      How privileged we all were to wait on this man! (we didn’t always think so, did we?-ha!) I can see the whole thing…I love you.

  8. Steph | 18th Oct 13

    I remember when Josie was a baby and we were in town-he asked me to come over and clean his house for him. We were B.R.O.K.E back then so I jumped at the opportunity. I went in the morning and it was perfect because my plan was for Josie to nap while I cleaned for him. He went out to the shop to work while I cleaned. A few hours later I was done and was going to make him some lunch before I left. He came in and said he was going to have to go to the bank to get some cash to pay me. I told him he could give me a check-no problem-but he wanted to go to the bank. Ummmm,for Dad that was going to require eating, taking a shower,and walking outside at least ten times before leaving the house. I told him I could just come back by before we left to go home-no big deal. NO-he then decided he had $40 bucks in cash and he would pay me the rest in quarters. I was getting so restless, you asked me to come do this Dad-why weren’t you more prepared!? So, he drags out this HUGE bucket filled to the brim with coins. We are now going to roll quarters until he has enough to give me $100 bucks…I was way frustrated. I have been cleaning, my baby is up and fussy and you want me to sit here and roll quarters….he then went to find the wrappers to roll up-he had a huge stash of them. He found them in a stack of pictures, so he wanted to look at the pictures before we could roll the quarters, he had to go outside another dozen times and it was truly another 2 hours before I even left-but while we rolled change, we talked about childhood memories (the purple egg)and he entertained Josie so that she wasn’t as grumpy. I remember driving away thinking how I was so frustrated-but how could I really expect any different? Dad was going to be slow as Christmas…always, but I think if we had slowed down more and just followed his lead, we would have enjoyed a lot more than we did. Maybe he wasn’t trying to keep up with time so that his time was better spent with what mattered most? I miss him tons.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      I was reading your comment like a story…absorbing every word. I never heard this one. Loved it. And you too.

  9. jana conrad | 18th Oct 13

    That was really really good! I really enjoy your writing style and the content was wonderful. Very good to remember! Thanks for the challenge. – Jana

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Thank you, Jana, my favorite roomie! I love hearing what YOU have to say. Can’t wait to read your new one!

  10. Kim Rike | 18th Oct 13

    Having just spent two hours sans kiddos at WalMart sauntering through a crowd of “older than me” folks, I found this quite sweet and poignant. God has been whispering to me how ready He is for me to slow down & hang with Him. Thinking now works….

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Hanging with God…sigh…I love this. Even if it’s just a fantasy…I would love to hang with you too 🙂 Thank you for your constant encouragement, friend.

  11. Shawna Cotten | 18th Oct 13

    Loved this! I had no idea of this gift you have for written expression!!! Dana shared with me, and I’m so glad!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 18th Oct 13

      Shawna! Thank you SO much for these words…you have made me smile today.

  12. SB | 18th Oct 13

    Well. Again, the love of my life has reminded me of why I love her so much and even more today than yesterday and the day before. It is the reminder that we all have to have. You again said it in a story telling way that holds you in until it hits you in the face with the point. Thank you for another great blog to begin a beautiful weekend!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 19th Oct 13

      Will you marry me? I love you.

  13. Nikki | 19th Oct 13

    Thank you sweet Melissa as you described both my husband & my sweet Avery. Patience is not my virtue & I continue to pray for help with this shortcoming 🙂

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 19th Oct 13

      Girl, it is not my virtue, either, and gets tested on the regular. Sometimes I will write things out as a reminder for myself…this was one of those times. Thank you for taking time to read and comment…I can’t say enough that I really do appreciate your sweet encouragement.

  14. Jill Tucker | 19th Oct 13

    This is beautiful… poetic. What I wouldn’t give to have one more day with my Grandma Betty. You captured my feelings too, my friend. Thank you, you awesome writer, you.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 19th Oct 13

      You know I love you. Thank you for this gift of words.

  15. Paula McGuire | 21st Oct 13

    I just now took the time to read this post. Once again, you nailed it! I am constantly convicted that the bulk of communication to my family are what needs to be done and how fast it needs to be done. I am on a daily journey of trying to learn how to slow down enough to value the loves of my life and make them feel loved, purposeful, and highly valued (including myself). Sooo…once again, Thank you!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Oct 13

      Thank YOU. You are such a good mama…mindful of these things. I mostly write to remind myself how to do it better and knowing we all struggle…we are still trying to do better. I LOVE serving alongside you.

  16. Emily | 21st Oct 13

    Melissa, please know that God is using you. I’ve read some of the comments and its apparent that He is using your sweet words to tell lots of us to slow down, settle, stop rushing. He’s been speaking these words to me for a while now. I am learning to sleep down and enjoy my babies more. Learning to give myself extra time to get out the door so that I’m not yelling at my babies to hurry hurry, rush rush rush, we’re gonna be late. I don’t want to be the momma that didn’t let them stop to smell the roses. Thanks, love.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Oct 13

      Sweet Emily…I just love you! I see you with those baby girls and it is a precious thing. Sometimes we just all need to know we are in this thing together, right?! Also, your words were like a timely and well-spoken whisper in my ear yesterday. I needed them so thank you.

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