Barbara Nicols is one of our First Steps family. She has a gift for writing. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing a day like we all have from time-to-time and telling us what you did with it.
Okay so I don’t exactly enjoy grocery shopping. I love making food, dreaming up new recipes and combinations, pouring over my favorite worn Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, measuring & ingredients for a new recipe.
I love seeing the excitement on little faces as they clamber to the table on a Saturday morning, grabbing eagerly for a homemade cinnamon roll or banana walnut waffle to eat with their blueberries or pineapples.
But I don’t love shopping. In fact sometimes, most times I dread it. And it is even more dread-worthy (is that a word) when I must bring my little twosome along. The twosome are jolly and raucous and completely adorable and mostly manageable when they are within the familiar confines of home and yard. But put them in a brightly lit supermarket with hundreds of thousands of hands off items, anchored to a rickety and crowded cart, forced to watch me linger over which head of broccoli is the firmest, which type of milk for my tea, which bag of frozen edamame has more…and they go just a little bit cuckoo. Grabbing things off the shelves, giving a poke or an unwanted tickle to their sibling, fighting over who gets to put the steel cut oats in the cart (yes, just about anything looks exciting when someone else is getting to do it!)…Needless to say I don’t exactly enjoy shopping with my children. At least not all of them at once…when I’m pressed for time and on a strict budget..
So this morning after all the normal rush of breakfast, and lost shoes, and scattered coats, and repacking the diaper bag, and changing several diapers, and trying to run a brush through unruly bedhead and an argument over clothes that needed to be changed, and finding sippy cups, and packing snacks, and buckling them into their car seats and carting out all the LUGGAGE necessary to round out our arduous 12 minute trip to the grocery store…I couldn’t find my car keys.
They had been swallowed up in the black hole that is life with a toddler and a 19 month old. Great. The only thing I like less than grocery shopping with two wiggle worms is not being able to grocery shop when I’ve put in the hour and a half of preparation and psyching myself up to grocery shop. But after I realized I’d lost my keys then I realized I didn’t have my list either, then David needed to pee, AGAIN, And I realized it was time to call it a day. Or in our case an almost day.
So in we came. I pushed down the desire to search frantically for keys, barking at little people to help me. I swallowed down the urge to begin an immediate frenzied scrub, sweep, vacuum of the rumpled house before me. I realized and acknowledged my desire, my need to feel that I accomplished something from start to finish. And I looked at my sweet children looking at me to see what would come next. It was all up to me. I didn’t have control of this shopping trip, couldn’t find my keys, couldn’t keep the dishes from piling up around me, the crumbs from collecting on the floors, the mess of life from smearing the windows and walls. But I could choose my response to it all.
So I smiled, gave each of their little upturned face a big fat kiss and gathered them up and out we went to spray each other with the hose, chase each other, and excitedly collected bugs while enjoying the last of the sunshine.
That’s something I could do. Choose how I would spend the rest of my day instead of letting it spend me.