This post was also shared in The Huffington Post and on Red Tricycle.

Dear Target,

Your beautiful red bullseye calls to me, like the sound of a chips bag calls to every child within a 2-mile radius of my pantry.

The attraction is visceral, instant and natural. Before I know it, I’m thinking about those well-lit aisles and big red carts and white, gleaming floors.

I need to be there.

I feel it in my soul.

And tonight, I have a 40-minute kid-free holiday (courtesy of my husband taking the 3 littles to the gym), and so, it is time. For Target Nirvana.

(And really, we need diapers and so I’m actually just being practical and doing something for my family. Really, I’m just here to serve the greater good.)

First, I will float through your beautiful red automatic doors and immediately smell buttered popcorn. And that will make my heart happy, as come into the place that makes me whole.

I will veer to the left to marinade my happiness in the Dollar Spot, where everyone knows dreams come true. They might be dreams you never knew you had, like the dream of having matching napkin rings at Thanksgiving dinner or the dream of buying Elmo party favors for the baby’s birthday next year, but they are dreams just the same.

After collecting the items I never knew I needed but now I can’t live without, I glance longingly at the wide aisle in front of me. The aisle that leads to boots and jeans and fake leather jackets and lots of awesome things that I’ll never wear. But I only came here for one thing, and so, I must stay the course.

After all, I do have self-control. And only 38 minutes.

And so, I turn left.

All of a sudden, the accessories department sings to me a song more beautiful than the white static noise I blast in my sons’ room at bedtime. My eyes fall longingly over rose gold watches and aqua statement necklaces that I want to make love to. And so I go over and touch them and look at them, and I start to realize I really need them and they really will make my life beautiful. And, after all, I was up at 4:25am with the baby today, and well… everyone needs a little something that makes them happy.

I keep walking, and my gaze drifts to the little girls’ department to my right. And, even though I have no daughters, I’m overcome with a strong urge to buy the sweet shirts with the witty sayings on them and that adorable furry sweater vest and skirt set that someone I know must need, and unless I buy it for them right now, they will never see this outfit that the world needs to see. Lucky for me, my best friend’s daughter’s birthday is next month, so that problem is solved.

Diapers really are the only reason I came here, and so I must stay the course and turn right. I pass the card section on my left, and soon enough, plush gray bath towels and beautiful Chevron bath mats come into view, and come to think of it, we really do need to replace all of the towels we’ve been using to mop up stray urine in the guest bathroom through the potty-training years. And these towels and linens are so thick and soft, and we just need comfort around here. Plus, it’s the guest bathroom. I mean, it’s only right.

The baby section comes into view, and well, everyone knows that little itty bitty things are just so sweet and special and precious and we need to touch all of them. And while I don’t have anyone specific in mind, I do always have a friend getting pregnant these days, so it makes sense to be proactive and grab this set of onesies from the end cap, just to have on-hand. Come to think of it, a few more outfits wouldn’t hurt either. They are so small and sweet, after all, and they need to be in my cart.

This brings me to my next point, and I’m not going to put it lightly. The diapers at Target are simply the best. And, being that I’m here today and I might not return for at least 72 hours, I must buy 3 large boxes of Up & Up. Because that new anchor design makes me feel like I’m buying Honest diapers, but I know they’re half the price, and therefore, I’m winning at life.

I hastily traverse the back of the store to get to the grocery section because Target always has the flavor of LaCroix that I need to make my life happy, and also because I’m used to being here with kids and storming past the toys section is always the only way. But back to the LaCroix and the coconut and grapefruit and even those fancy new mixed flavors in the tall cans. The answer to my carbonated water fantasies is in this aisle, and I need all of it. Now. (And we also know vodka pairs extremely well with LaCroix, especially during the witching hour when everyone’s crying and the husband just texted to say he’ll be home late. Because, #survival.)

While we’re in the grocery section, I might as well be productive, and milk and bananas are always on the list, so I will scoop those up, along with paper towels because you can never have enough and I think we’re out. (Spoiler alert: I have 2 large packages in the garage that I’ve forgotten about.)

As I make my way back to the front of the store, the new, revamped home goods section on the left screams at me like my toddler when he sees me getting the ice cream out of the freezer. I need that now! Like matching coffee cups with the cute sayings, and I want to be that person with funny coffee cups that match. Whimsical lamps that I can put nowhere in my house, but they are cool and I’d like to feel fancy. Signs that I could post in my house and make my friends thing I’m silly and fun. All of these things are things that I need right now to be the person I want to be.

After one last swing to the right into the household cleaners department to pick up Tide (because one can obviously never have enough laundry detergent), I exhale and pull up to the cashier line, place my plunder onto the belt and proudly survey my success. Yep, I did it. I totally need all of this and may never see again if I don’t buy it right now.

“That’s $516.83.” the cashier says.

“But I only came here for diapers!”

“Yes, but you got a lot of really good stuff,” she said with a smile.

Yes. Yes, I did.

Thank you, Target.

You complete me.

See you tomorrow.


Moms everywhere

This is What Happens When You Go To Target For 1 Thing