In between gas tanks and love tanks, we have a few more things to fill - fridges, freezers and pantries. Going grocery shopping with my kids frightens me, frankly.
Knowing that I will be overwhelmed, I plan ahead. The night before, I make a list. I divide it into categories, put a “c” by the items I have coupons for and organize it according to the store lay-out to make my adventure go smoothly (in theory). Cheesy, I know. Then, I pray for stamina.
My problem is that I always wait until I only have five green beans, three teaspoons of ketchup and two chicken nuggets left in the entire house before I go. Hence…the scary part – the amount of time it takes to re-stock for five, as well as that total on the receipt.
The next morning, the sun is up and so are the kids. They appear to be in relatively cheery moods. I’m feeling optimistic. I serve them a hearty breakfast (this tidbit will be important for when you start to wonder later if I ever feed them). We head to the store. List – check. Purse – check. Coupons – check.
We start down the baby aisle and my youngest immediately spots the snacks. NACK, NACK, NACK! My patience level is still high at this point and I’m feeling relatively calm. I still have tons to get, so I give in and grab the strawberry yogurt melts. My other daughter sees a little box of goldfish crackers on the end-cap and is instantaneously starving (clever location, Mr. Grocery, very clever!). I grab it and have now crossed two items off my list. I’m feeling good about my progress. Woo-hoo!
A short ten minutes later, I’ve cleaned up goldfish off the floor and only remnant yogurt crumbs remain in the other package. The good news is, if your child consumes an entire bag of yogurt melts, they have received almost half of their Vitamin A, C and E needs for the day! The bad news is that I still have almost a full grocery list yet to get.
I rev up my cart speed a notch (cautiously, of course) and basically just throw in whatever I can recall being on my list. I’m not sure where my list is anymore. I feel a bit frazzled because the girls are picking on each other and their voices are getting louder and louder and my daughter no longer has room to stand in the back of the cart. “I’m squanched in HERE!” she hollers. People are glancing my way. You know the glance.
“Whew, it is h-o-t in here!” I think to myself. But, I can smell the finish line…or is that a poopy diaper? Nah. The girls spot the Dum-Dum lollipops…on the end-cap…again. Oh, why not - they’re super duper small, right? So, I grab the bag and give one to each daughter. Four suckers later, they’re quiet (and sticky) and I breathe a sigh of relief.
I pull into the check-out lane…two hours after arriving. I pay and head to the car. Groceries – check. Purse – check. Coupons – check. Why do I still have my coupons? Ugh.
We get home and my older daughter asks me to close my eyes. She has a present for me and digs down deep into her princess bag. What could it be? A stale pretzel, the world’s smallest spider squished in a Kleenex, my missing floss, maybe? Nope. It’s a shiny nickel. “Here ya go! You’ve been an extra good mom today!"
And isn’t that just what we need to keep on keepin’ on? A tiny bit of encouragement or sweet “sMILEs” from those we love? There is a “MILE” between those S’s for a reason. It does go a long way! Heck, I’m even considering going back to the grocery store!