I headed to the grocery store about 8:45PM - I always get a week's groceries on Saturday and we were traveling yesterday, so this evening was it. It was completely dark when I brought the groceries to my car, and I heard the yelling of a small child as I walked across the parking lot. In the cart return area, I saw two adults crouched down on either side of one of those giant plastic toy car type things that are integrated into the front of a shopping cart. At first I assumed they were trying to extricate their injured kiddo (I had injury on the brain, since I had just avoided running an adorable toddler over with my cart), but then I realized that the whining and yelling was actually a tantrum. It required both adults to extract the yelling preschooler, who would not leave the toy car voluntarily. Dad finally stood up with the little one pitched over his shoulder and managed to strap him into the minivan, though the yelling continued, fainter, after the sliding door shut. I didn't hear much of the parents' voices - a few words trying to reason with the child, a comment or two to each other. They sounded exasperated, but mostly tired and quiet. Not yelling. Which I thought was pretty impressive - I bet I would have yelled.
And I thought, I've been traveling all weekend and I haven't gotten much sleep. Grocery shopping late in the evening is not really ideal, and I'm just doing it because it will take even more out of me tomorrow, but I still have to go home, unload all the groceries, put them away, and pay a month's worth of bills (all these things are now done, BTW). And there's just one of me. Nobody to strap in, nobody who might break my eggs or drop my produce, nobody to unstrap and shepherd into the house while I have to deal with all the groceries as well. Nobody but me to bathe or put to bed. Certainly nobody to drag screaming out of a shopping cart toy after fruitless attempts at persuasion and bribery. And I realized as I got in my car that I'm just not sure those are challenges I'm really desperate for right now. Dealing with my groceries is plenty to occupy me, and frankly I wouldn't say no to a little more sleep than I'm getting. Working makes me tired enough as it is.