Losing and finding my daughter at Target

Losing and finding my daughter at Target

My daughter wanted to go to Target which is nothing new. She’s 19 and is a consumer of skin care products and sunscreen, knowing much more about the latest and greatest than her pediatrician mother. She’ll be shocked at the sticker price when we finally make it to self check-out and will offer to take one of them (not the most expensive one) back, knowing I won’t want to deal with it, so will give in. We’ll get home with stuff and I’ll never know if it works or not.

It’s our first home from college summer and it’s going so well, mainly because I’ve finally learned to stay in my lane. I’ll say to my husband while patting myself on the back, “This is the best summer. I have to give Audrey all the credit. She’s really learned to let go of stuff.”

Until tonight at Target. It’s 7:30 pm on a Sunday and I never give up an opportunity to connect with Audrey. It’s always been on her terms and she knows it. Sure, I’ll take you to Target. Oh, my friend Ava may be working tonight. She saw you and Dad buying a pillow the other night at Target. Yes, Violet peed on Dad’s pillow. I know. Gross. She peed on the bed. Damn, Violet.

She said you guys didn’t say anything to her. We didn’t see her. We don’t really know her. You know how we are. We would always say something. We go overboard. Both of us. You know that, Audrey.

We were doing great in the make-up and skin care section. I was silently applauding myself for not saying anything and acting like I wasn’t judging her selections out of my “bombastic side eye” (TikTok viral trend- get with it, friend) when we made our way by the toothpaste aisle. First, I went to get my husband his 3 in 1 shampoo and Audge was still in the make-up/skin care section. Excellent.

We were walking together by the toothpaste aisle when she saw one of her friends and said hello and we kept walking. I walked a few feet down the toothpaste aisle, grabbed the Colgate whitening value pack (won’t work on our old yellow teeth), literally turned away for a few seconds and Audrey and our cart had vanished. Like out of thin air. I wasn’t panicked at this point at all. I calmly took my value pack and kept going on the main aisle as my strategy, looking down each aisle, but no Audrey. Maybe she went to the grocery aisle to get some LaCroix or stock up on the food she says we never have at home. How could our food be worse than the college food she’s complained about all year, giving her scurvy. According to her, just look in our home fridge.

Nope. Not there. Go back to get toilet paper and kleenexes, looking like Steve Martin out of The Jerk, “All I need is this paddle ball, and this chair and this….” All I needed was a cart. I put my stuff down in the old DVD section to get my phone which wasn’t there! I had no phone, no Audrey and NO CART!

I’ve lost my daughter. You could see the franticness on their faces, then reassurance when I said, “She’s old.”

Later recounting my side of the story, Audrey says, “Mom, I seriously doubt they took one look at you and thought you had a toddler.” Is this why Audrey is obsessed with buying all the latest anti-wrinkle age prevention creams on the market?

If you go back to the front to get a cart it will look like you’re trying to steal toilet paper and kleenexes and value pack whitening toothpaste.

Damnit, Audrey. Are you messing with me?

Then, I hope she’s okay. I went through the grocery aisles, the home goods aisles, then back to the make-up skin care area, found a Target employee who told me I had to go to customer service to page her overhead.

I decided to make one last attempt before going to the front. I stood at the multi-vitamin supplement section without going to look down the aisles (big mistake) and yelled her name, “Audrey. Audrey! AUDREY!” I found out later she heard me but was too embarrassed to answer.

I went to check out and went to customer service. They let me use their landline and I tried calling her, must have called the wrong number, then called my husband and told him to call Audrey and tell her to go to the front of the store.

“Maam, do you want me to page her overhead?” Yes, definitely. Please. When I’m in panic mode, I want all options to be utilized.

While she’s on the phone with her Dad, she hears, “Audrey to the front of the store. Audrey Lester come to the front of the store. Audrey to the front of the store.” About six times.
She and her Dad burst out laughing at the ridiculousness.

Audrey comes up pushing the cart shaking her head. I grab my items and walk back through and there’s Audrey, “Why didn’t you bring your phone?” “Why wouldn’t you bring your phone to Target?” “Who doesn’t bring their phone to Target?”

“Why did you ghost me, Audrey?”

“Why did you page me and use my last name like 6 times?”

I was super worried about you.
“Must not have been too worried if you checked out before finding me?”

I knew this first home from college summer was too good to be true.

Ava walks up because she heard Audrey’s name called overhead so met her up front.

“Hi Ava. I’m Karla. I’m Audrey’s Mom. Do you like working here at Target? What area do you work in? How long have you worked here?”