Phew. Life has been hectic, and emotional, and overwhelming lately. I've watched myself seep into some kind of sticky funk, and I seem to be stuck in it. I've finally decided it's time to slowly start climbing my way out... and finally time to start making time for the stuff that matters.
My to do list has gotten too long.
Anyway - that doesn't have much to do with Leappads, so - I'll transition by saying this (nothing like being blunt and to the point, huh?) this little cheery story may be just what I need to get back on the road of joy.
For those of you who know me - you know I'm a deal searcher and a shopper. Not so much a 'shop-aholic' kind of shopper, but a 'get stuff done, get a good deal, and enjoy it' kind of shopper.
For those of you who know leappads (even in the past few weeks), you'll know that they have been sold. out. everywhere.
Now - a little bit of backstory: my grandparents have us buy for the kids each year. They figure we know what they want / need, and we can get to it easier than they can at this stage in life. (And they are right.) So - up until this year and our move, I've always bought for them, wrapped for them, and delivered secretly to their home so that when the kids were there Christmas day, they had gifts under their tree just for them.
Just weeks before my grandpa passed... we'll say the beginning of November, I was making out Christmas lists for kids (as I get lots of emails and texts about what they need). It was at this point that I thought B may like the Leappad. We have other Leapfrog toys and are avid fans. Low and behold, though, I could not find one (less than $180!!) anywhere. (Apparently when products are in high demand, people who have them feel they can mark them up astronomically.) My theory was, as Black Friday neared, stores would HAVE to get more in stock. (Right?)
Wrong. The only ad (and I searched ads, let me tell you) that had the toy anywhere was Best Buy, and they were guaranteed TWO per store. (And if you know Best Buy and Black Friday, well, I wasn't doing that.)
So I really felt all was lost.
As many of you know, my grandpa passed away the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, switching our Thanksgiving plans around completely. We found ourselves 700 miles away from where we expected to be, and me thinking zero about a Leappad.
Fast forward to Thursday night (you know, when Black Friday sales started this year), and you would have found me first at WalMart, then I mosied on over to Target at about 11:15.
Never shopping Target on Black Friday, I forgot they formed their line in the parking lot. So, being that it was about 30 degrees outside, I'd forgotten my coat, and the doors weren't scheduled to open for another 45 minutes, I decided to drink my Steak n Shake shake (yeah, I know) and wait in the car until about 5 til.
At 11:55 or so I decided to go try the line (which had doubled in length by this point.) I walked right in behind a lady, and as you do in such moments, you become quick friends. She was talking about what she was there for, I was talking about what I was there for, and we eventually got to where I was on my search for a Leappad, to which the lady replied that not only did she HAVE a leappad (that she'd bought months in advance because she thought her six year old wanted one for Christmas and knew they would go out of stock), but it was in her TRUNK, wrapped, addressed, and ready to be shipped back to Amazon the next day for an 80% refund because her son decided he DIDN'T want one. (Not kidding.) She told me if I was interested, it was mine. (Seriously.)
I totally that the woman was thoroughly confused about what it really was I wanted. But she gave me her number, I saved it in my phone, and she said she had intentions of going to the post office the next afternoon to ship back. If I wanted it, all I had to do was get a hold of her before then, but, if I wanted it that night before we left, I could meet up with her after we finished in Target.
Fast forward: I'm waiting in line to check out at Target (with my over half off gps units) and I think to myself, "It's at least worth texting her."
Long story short: I left Target parking lot that night with a Leappad, a gift to my son from the grandpa (who passed) and his grandma, for less than retail price, brand new, in the box, no tax, no fighting crowds, no shipping, nothing.
It's small, folks. But I don't believe in coincidence. If my theology allowed, I'd think my grandpa ordained the whole meeting... wanting B to have just what we'd tried to find everywhere. But - since I don't think people are up there orchestrating things like Christmas presents, I do think God orchestrates things, even small things, for a reason... and if that means a little boy getting a leappad for a Christmas present from his great grandparents... then I'm thankful for that...
As funny, and a little foolish, as it sounds... it shows me that if he cares for things that small... He's got our backs... He's watching out for us... He has a plan. Even when timing seems poor... circumstances seem uncontrollable, and life seems overwhelming... and there are times I need that assurance. Even in a child's toy - it's good.