Going to the post office during the holiday season is a nightmare even in the best of circumstances. It is significantly worse, however, when you go toting a baby and dozens of packages. This is the situation I found myself in when I went to send out “The Adventures of Annie and Rigby” DVDs to people who donated to Friends of Maddie. (Copies are still available for order, btw.)
Things started well enough – Annie drifted off to sleep the moment I put her in the stroller, I was able to balance the large box full of packages on the stroller’s handles, and the women in line told me how cute Annie was. The old lady in front of me was so taken with Annie, in fact, that she said I should cut in front of her.
I refused a few times, but she kept insisting, so finally I said thank you and stepped in front of her. It was then the second window closed leaving just one clerk to tend to all of us. From the corner of my eye I could see the old lady was not pleased.
“Next!” the lone clerk yelled. I pushed Annie’s stroller forward and placed the large box on the counter. As I opened it and pulled out my packages there were audible groans behind me.
“He has got to be joking,” the old lady complained. “And here I thought he was just mailing off that one box.”
I cringed. Skipping over the old lady with seventy packages instead of what appeared to be one was a jerk move, one I never would have made if I was thinking clearly and hadn’t been lulled into a post office induced stupor. I turned to apologize and offer the old lady my spot when the clerk affixed postage to my first few packages.
“Too late now,” I thought. “Hopefully we can get through all these packages as quickly as possible.”
It was then the clerk told me I would have to fill out an international form for EVERY. SINGLE. INTERNATIONAL. PACKAGE.
I had eleven.
Sweat sprouted on my forehead. The line now snaked out the door as I frantically raced to fill out the forms.
It was then little Miss Annie woke up and looked around, confused.
“Mama? Mama? Mama?”
Shhh,” I cooed. “It’s okay, Annie.”
MAMA?! MAMA?! MAMA?!
The clerk smirked. “She wants her mama, doesn’t she?”
The room filled with laughter. Embarrassed, I said, “Oh, she says ‘Dada’ too. (lie) She just gets confused.”
I quickly took a near meltdown Annie out of the stroller.
“It’s okay, baby,” I said as I bounced her. “Dada has you. You’re okay.”
“Mama! Mama! Mama!”
“Stop saying Mama.”
Annie laughed. I sighed and returned my attention to the international forms. Unfortunately, it took even longer to fill them out now that I had a squirmy baby in my arms.
“You know, young man,” the old lady began. “If I had known you were going to take this long I never would have let you cut in front of me.”
“Ma’am, I didn’t ask to cut in front of you,” I replied. “You insisted.”
“Well, aren’t you a peach,” the old lady spat. “No wonder that baby wants her mama.”
After what seemed like an eternity I finally finished just as a second window – of course – opened. On the way out I apologized profusely to everyone in line, and thankfully no one seemed too angry. This had a lot to do with the fact Annie greeted each person with an enthusiastic “Mama!”
When I got home I told Heather the whole story. She laughed and leaned down to look at Annie.
“Sounds like you missed me, huh baby?”
Annie stared long and hard at Heather and said, “Doggie.”