“Andrea, Dear?” I reached my hand across the aisle and took hold of hers. She smiled tiredly, but sweetly, somehow still finding a way to make her eyes sparkle in spite of how exhausting the day had been. We aimlessly drifted like ghosts through the clothing department in search of mercy and rest for our worn out souls and finding neither among the sweaters and socks.

Finally, she replied, “Yes.”

I glanced over my shoulder at the trail of destruction we were leaving in our wake. “You know, Gideon is high-fiving all of the mannequins, right?”

“Yes…” she sighed.

“Someone should maybe do something about that.”

She closed her eyes and we kept on walking. “Yes…”

Somewhere up ahead, Clara casually disappeared into a rack of skirts as if it were a copse of trees, no doubt waiting to pounce on us like a wild animal as we walked by. Lydia meanwhile shot across the aisle in one direction, a hot pink blur, and then immediately shot across the aisle in the other direction an impossible distance further on. Then she was suddenly behind us slapping her feet towards her little brother. “Oh, don’t high-five the mannequins, Gideon!”

“Oh good,” I thought to myself, “At least someone is being responsible.”

The little girl loudly continued, “You should give them fist bumps instead. Like this!”

I groaned and reluctantly let go of my wife’s hand, and then slowly tilted my head back and sunk into the flames of parenthood.