I'm so bad at Ikea.
I always tell my mom I blame her for the fact that mega stores overwhelm me, because she never took us into them when we were little (side note: who would take five children under 10 to a department store?).
Nothing makes me shut down like a department store. Some girls wait for the Nordstrom semiannual sale. I hide from it.
A few weeks ago, I went to Ikea (for the fourth time in my life) to buy:
- 60 glass cups
- 60 cloth napkins
- 6 glass pitchers
- A 4-foot tall glass vase
That was the list. How did I begin my journey? With a yellow bag. Not a cart. A bag! Halfway through the trip, when I was in the very depths of the store with no cart in sight, I realized I'd made a mistake.
As I loaded the last of the 60 cups into my yellow bag (I can't even), I got a call from Chris that I'd been waiting for all day. We were awaiting news that would determine a big part of the next year for us. I squatted slowly, lowering all of the glass in my bag to the ground, while carefully raising the phone to my ear, knowing he'd only have a minute between meetings to update me.
As I squatted there in the store, I thought: This is how it happens. News - good and bad - can find us anywhere. In any moment, everything can change. This is being an adult.
Our parents can't shield us from it anymore - they can't wait until the big test is over to tell us something heartbreaking. They can't protect us with a little good and a little bad, softening the blow. They can't give us a present to make bad news seem a little less painful.
I've learned that being an adult means a lot of things, but, on the floor at Ikea, I learned that being an adult means taking the news - good and bad - in stride. It means taking a deep breath, gathering the people that love you, and beginning again. It means linking arms with one another - believing that we're in it together. And it means we must, must believe that we weren't made to go it alone.