Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lessons from the Grocery

Let's preface all this with: Before we even left, I had to explain that under no conditions were our mouths to touch the shopping cart!!! At what age do I get to not say that anymore?

This morning I, Mommy, took the three little babes to the grocery (don't tell Miriam I called her little) because we have another big, ugly winter storm coming and I'm not running out of bread (again). There we were facing the mass of people needing those last few supplies to help them survive the next two-ish days. The parking lot was covered in about two inches of ice and the girls were instructed to hold onto my hands because if we were going down, then we were doing it together!?!?! Brilliant.
Did we move to Canada when I wasn't looking?
When we did get into the store, I started piling everyone into the cart when an older man wanted my attention. "Can you wait here just a minute? My wife and I have something for the children. Please can you wait?" he asked.

Sure, I could wait. He seemed nice and normal enough and we move REALLY slowly as a rule. There's no running into the store for a second with three small children. What's another minute out of the day? His wife hustled in the sliding doors a moment later with a tote bag full of little quilted purses that were machine embroidered with "JESUS LOVES ME". Each of the girls, even Felicity, got to pick one out and the man handed them each a coin as "seed money", while they explained, "God put it on our hearts to make these. We think little children are so special. Do you go to church?"

"Yes," I answered with a sinking feeling. Here we go.

"Oh, we don't. Too many of those churches don't do what they preach."

Insert perfect opportunity for me to invite them to my Church. Nope. I just smiled and sincerely thanked them again for being so kind to my children. More often than not my gaggle of very little people attracts trying-to-be-funny/unkind comments. Anyways, should I just write the Pope and say he can go ahead and count me out on all that New Evangelization stuff? Geez.

Lesson #1: Time to take the course How Not To Be a Wimpy Catholic 101.

And then we got to shop. But instead of reading the list and getting what we need, I behaved as if this were the first time I'd ever been in the grocery with three children. Meandering. Forgetting things and going back down half the aisles at least twice. Asking what they thought we should get. Not like, "Do you want bananas or clementines?" but more along the lines of, "Hummm. Do you girls think we need these cinnamon rolls?" This got to be a ridiculously long trip; Vivian was getting antsy and smashing the egg noodles, Felicity was getting hungry, and I still didn't have everything we came for. But I did get a deal on refried beans.

Lesson #2: Stick to the list for crying out loud! (Learning this for the 1,184,897,321st time.)

And finally as we were leaving, I saw a man pushing a little boy in a cart with no coat, socks, or shoes on. It was perhaps 15 degrees. And for once in my life I didn't judge. Maybe I have finalllllllllly been humbled enough by my children. Who knows? Perhaps this little boy refused those items of clothing and the dad said, "Fine. Be cold." Maybe the dad made a threat he had to follow through on. I've said before that I really have to watch myself. I truly try to follow through when I tell these girls some consequence of their actions. And there have been times I've made threats that I really wish I hadn't because following through was very un-fun.

Lesson #3: Parenting is terribly difficult and I have no room to think unkindly of another comrade in arms.

So there you have it. One post about one grocery trip that we survived no thanks to me. May your next winter storm be endured with a freezer of bread and pantry of Tex-Mex condiments.

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