Wednesday, October 10, 2001

A Trip to the Store

Making the pilgrimage to the grocery store for the “big” trip was never my idea of a good time. Seeing our money vanish before my very eyes and trying to figure out what meals to fix over the next two weeks had something to do with my disdain for the store. Add two energetic little toddlers and the thought of getting through that trip alive becomes a survival of the fittest. Some days go smoothly and then, there was today.
My day actually started around 3:30 this morning, when my 18 month old son decided that he had had enough sleep. I didn’t want to wake my husband and daughter, so I wearily walked down to the living room with my sweet little boy and turned on his favorite “Veggie Tales” video with a bowl of dry Cheerios. We finally fell asleep together about an hour later and I woke up just in time to start the coffee and wake up my husband. I even took a shower before the kids woke up, which rarely happens. Rachel, my 3 year old, awoke as I was putting on my socks and wanted to go downstairs with me. My husband braided my hair and we read the parable of the talents from the book of Matthew. He was going out the door as I read, “and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. We thought that was an uplifting verse to start our day. After breakfast, I somehow dressed and groomed my kids, made lunches, because I knew we would be hungry on our trip to the store and stuffed the kids, diaper bag, and coats in the car. “I want my bunny!” Rachel announced before getting in. Rachel clutched Benjamin Bunny and Jonathan gnawed on his little mouse teether and we were on our way.
It began to rain slowly and I was thankful that I had thought to bring our coats with hoods to shield our heads. Holding an umbrella for me and my two angels is like juggling in a three ring circus. We arrived at our local Meijer and unloaded. Jonathan clung to me like an extra appendage and Rachel held my hand and jumped in every puddle she saw. We found a double cart and I dried the seats and plopped the kids in. I think the double cart is a great invention with the exception that it tends to be very difficult to steer and I inevitably destroy at least one store display per trip.
We made our way to the toy section, just for fun. Our second destination was the diaper aisle. We picked out a birthday card for my niece and looked for shampoo and bubble bath. As I smelled the bubble bath, I told myself that I would soon be able to take a long luxurious bath with candles flickering around my tub. It’s nice to dream. “Perhaps, over the weekend, while David is home” I said to myself.
We then headed for the real groceries. I love it when I have to walk miles to the back of the store because I forgot something. Today, I did that more times than I want to admit. Rachel exchanged kind words with the live lobsters in the tank before we left the fish and meat section and I started for the checkout, dragging the entire way.
I should have known by the brevity of the line I chose that something was wrong. “Grandpa” was ringing up the groceries. Between Jonathan trying to get his fingers caught in the conveyor belt and Rachel emptying out the gum and candy display, I was ready to pull out my hair. I knew it was getting late and the children were out of sorts. Grandpa was a very sweet man and after I prayed for grace to get through that eternity, he won me over with his warm smile.
I took the kids to the bathroom so Rachel could use the potty and forgot how much Jonathan loathes public restrooms. The first toilet flushed and Jonathan’s whole world crumbled. I can only imagine what goes on in his little head when the giant toilet monster roars. I sang “Jesus Loves Me” to Jonathan and simultaneously told Rachel a story to help her use the potty.
I had a penny so Rachel rode the pretty pink horsey and we put our coats on. Of course, we were in the store so long that I misplaced our car. By this time, it was pouring and I was near tears as my babies started getting wet. I was encouraged when Rachel tenderly said, “It’s okay, Mommy.” Then, I remembered that we entered the store through a different door. I prayed and started singing, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessings” and we found our car. After getting kids and groceries in the car, I gave Rachel some water and nursed Jonathan. This was the first time I really relaxed since leaving the house. To my delight, both children fell asleep on the way home. I pulled into the garage and looked at my precious babies and thanked God for the privilege of being their Mommy. I put each one in their beds, put the groceries away and made a cup of tea. I read a few verses in my Bible and closed my eyes. A small peep came through the baby monitor and my time alone was over. One day, I’ll have a lot of time to myself, but then my little ones will be grown.