• Stephannie Bramlett

Dead Monkey Batteries

We are in the home stretch of summer vacation with exactly one week until school starts back. I know I need to be better about getting my kiddos ready for back to school with their schedules. I just haven’t had it in me to do it quite, yet. This morning, they all slept in. When my youngest, Chandler, woke up, she just wanted some milk and a snack and mommy snuggles. It was one of those summer mornings a mom dreams about.

So, we snuggled on the couch. I stayed in my pjs. I did my grocery shopping. Yes, I said it. I enjoy the ordering ability of Kroger’s ClickList. I felt a little guilty about it, too. I had a rather large order, as I hadn’t been to the store in quite a while. I was imagining the teenager in her khakis and collared shirt meandering through Kroger and asking herself, “Who in the world needs four bags of Cheetos in one grocery order?” I chuckled as I thought, she has NO IDEA about what life I have. Yes, I need four bags of Cheetos. They are the white, Simply Puffed Cheetos, and my kids adore them. Actually, they don’t adore them: they inhale them. My three girls: Carly Deane(9), Charlotte(7), and Chandler(3) can seriously put away some groceries. I cannot even imagine what it would look like with three boys! Three hundred dollars later, my order is complete.

I snuggle in closely with Chandler and realize it is almost 11 and I have not seen hide nor hair of my big girls. I suppose whatever it was I was putting out there in the universe woke them up because they quickly appeared upstairs. I am guessing it is the same feeling in the air as when I try to go to the bathroom...suddenly, all of my children appear! We all snuggled and chatted about the day. It was going to be a day of errands, but mostly relaxing at home. I needed to catch up on laundry from having just arrived back in town from a weekend trip. I had several things on the old to-do list, but nothing particularly major. Except, I needed to pick up my giant grocery order from Kroger later in the day.

As the day went on, I did all sorts of normal “mom” stuff. I gathered, washed and sorted laundry. I unpacked bags from our trip. I cleaned out and organized my purse. I sorted through toys Chandler brought me. Chandler doesn’t have the same language skills as many others in her same age bracket, but I understand her. “Mommy, my monkey dead. Batteries dead.” I don’t really worry about her language development, too much. She is strong willed, can climb and pretend play, is a super artist, and is opinionated beyond her age. All of the language will come. “Ok, sweetie,” I say, “I will see if we have the right kind of batteries to fix your monkey.” I set it down and moved on about the day, totally forgetting about the monkey.

Fast forward to the evening, and I shout, “Girls, get loaded up in the van. We have to run grab our groceries!” I quickly changed from my pajamas to a much more appropriate for out-of-the-house-wear yoga pants and a t-shirt, and rushed off to Kroger. If you aren’t familiar with Click-list. Let me tell you. It is fabulous. You pull into a select parking zone, call a number, and the bring your groceries out and load them in your car. My gas light had just turned on, so I added grabbing gas to the list for after grocery pickup. With my giant order, I knew we were going to be there for a few minutes waiting on the load, so I cut off my engine. We go through the motions: the attendant came out and shared whatever items they didn’t have or had to substitute, and then they loaded them all in the back of my van. At one point, one of the workers says, “Mrs. Bramlett, be careful when you open this back door when you get home. We had to pack it all in there to make it fit!” So, we moved a few items around to an open seat area in the back of the van.

I thanked them for the service, and went to start up the van. Nothing. Nada. No noise. No turn of the engine. Yikes! I had killed my battery. While sitting there waiting for my groceries, I had left my lights on and not realized it. A gentleman was walking past, and I stopped him. “Sir! Sir, can you please help me? I am so embarrassed. I left my lights on, and my battery died.” Unfortunately, he didn’t own jumper cables. I did not have them either. Oh no! I was mortified. Three kids loaded in my van, people behind me in line to pick up their groceries, 90 degrees outside, and I cannot start my vehicle. It was then that I realized Chandler did not even have on any pants. Chandler says, “Mommy. I thirsty. We go home now?” “No, we can’t go home, baby. The battery is dead in Mommy's van.” She responded, “Dead battery? Like my monkey?” “Yes, baby, dead like your monkey.”

One of the Kroger employees was amazing, grabbed her keys from her purse, pulled her car over, assured me this had happened before, and gave me the jump I needed for the battery. I stood there in my yoga pants (and no bra!) and was so thankful for her. I suppose I could have been angry at the waste of my time. Instead, I laughed. I took a picture of my crazy van right there in the middle of the parking lot. One day, maybe I will have it all together. I’ll remember to turn my lights out when I’m waiting in my car. I’ll have myself and my children dressed and ready for the day and any encounters I’ll have. Until then, I’ll be a work in progress. God isn’t finished with me just yet! As I was telling the crazy story to Jennifer, I began to see the irony of the day. I was gifted a day of rest, snuggles, and a complete recharge of my personal battery, even though other batteries were dead around me. Be sure to take a look at your own battery. Does it need a recharge? Is it rest, a nap, a lazy day with the kids, a long run? Whatever it is that charges you up, be sure to fit it in. At least, that’s the way I see it.

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