Slice 2- Marathon

Today was my monthly marathon of grocery shopping. Early in our marriage, grocery shopping became my household chore (somehow most of the household chores ended up on my list!). My role as the family grocery shopper was cemented forever when our twins were born. Grocery shopping in the evening became my “field trip” into the adult world. And then our local grocery store added a coffee shop AND child care! I could leave the twins with daddy, drop the 2 year old in child care and grab a cup of coffee to sip as I made my way down the aisles of the grocery store. A few quiet moments andI was accomplishing something. A win-win in my book.

With 4 boy athletes in the house, 3 of whom are teenagers, grocery shopping at the start of the month has become a 2 day marathon. Last night was the trip to Costco for essentials like Gatorade, spaghetti, milk, eggs and lunch box snacks. Inevitably I get some comment about the 3gallons of milk and the 1gal of chocolate milk to which I respond “No, I’ll be back again in 2 weeks for more.” Today was the trip to the Super Target for all the items we might want, but really don’t need to have in bulk. Checking out today, no less than 5 people pulled their baskets behind me, only to take a look and turn their carts towards another line. One woman today even huffed before turning her cart, as if, somehow, I was committing some crime by daring to buy so much! I wanted to explain the math to her: 6 people x 3 meals/day x 7 days= 126 meals/week. Then there’s snacks, dinner for the youth group tomorrow night, covered dish luncheon at church and snacks for the various sports teams. All this equals a very full cart for both legs of my grocery marathon.

But I realized today I don’t really care about the reaction of people like that. As much as it does get a bit much each month, requiring more time, energy and money than I feel like I have some months, it has become more than just a chore. It is one of the acts of love I share with my family. Nathaniel likes oranges and ham sandwiches in his lunch. Ian wants yogurt and Fiber One bars. Colin likes things other than sandwiches every so often and he loves when we have sourdough bread to make his sandwiches with. Devin called me on the phone to remind me we needed cereal . “I really like Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles, Mom. Just so you know.” Thankfully, Cocoa Pebbles are on sale today. 2 different kinds of apples, grapes and bananas- because everyone likes something a little different. My husband’s favorite cheese. Each item a reminder of my boys who will “Ooo” and “Ahhh” over each item as they help put them away when I arrive home. Yeah, I’ll be back at the store in 2 weeks for a smaller grocery run. But this weekend’s marathon is done for now and each meal this week and next will be a reminder to my boys they are loved and cared for.


21 thoughts on “Slice 2- Marathon

  1. Your post reminded me of my night out when my four children were young. My husband would stay with them and I would do the shopping marathon. It became my time to myself night. i never imagined that I would enjoy going shopping for groceries but I did during that time period. What insight to realize that your shopping is an act of love.

    • Deb-
      I’m sure had anyone told us in college that at some point in our lives grocery shopping would be our recreation activity, we would have laughed! Nice to hear from another mom of 4!

  2. Love this slice – I connect to it. I also am the grocery shopper in our house. After having Luke Chris would send me out the door, I’d head the thirty miles to the grocery store, but stop off at a coffee shop for a quiet lunch and some reading before arriving there. It was sacred time. 🙂 And my boys have the same reactions unpacking the groceries as yours do. So fun!

  3. I truly admire you and others who are so organized in their shopping! But I guess I no longer need to be so organized. I like the way that you included all the members of your family into your story. Ordinary shopping trip became an extraordinary blog post.

  4. Absolutely loved the math problem and the huffy lady. I ll bet she’s lonely. I agree, providing special meals for my family is one of the ways I can show how much I love them during our busy week. I love when they comment on what I bring in the door or set on the table…most of the time. 🙂

    • Kim- Mine are old enough now that if they make disparaging remarks about what gets set on the table, they are invited to be the cook and meal planner for the next night 🙂

  5. With the Jr Librarian being on one growth spurt after another, it feels like we’re at the grocery store far more frequently than usual. That being said, we have been kind of lazy and disorganized also of late. That happens when the grocery store is less than a mile from our house…

    • THe grocery store is a good 25 minutes+ away,although there is one right near my work, it’s a fancy one and a lot more expensive! So I try to do bulk shopping. I’m fearful if the grocery store were just a mile away, we’d need a second mortgage 🙂

  6. First of all — yay! You’re here! Glad you’re along for the slice rollercoaster ride! 🙂

    Good writing finds significance in the everyday, the things that seem small, mundane, routine, unimportant. I like you how guide your reader to the larger meaning of grocery shopping — the universal, routine experience we all take part in — by introducing your kids directly and specifically only in the end. The increase in personal focus as your writing concludes is the window into the point you’re trying to make, and the shift is very graceful and natural. Nice!

    On an unrelated note, there’s such a thing as a Super Target? Target is only now coming to Canuckistan, and we’ve only in the last decade gotten used to the monster-mega-size WalMart. Yay! More larger than life stores to look forward to! 😦

    • Paul- Thank you! You are always so kind and so eloquent. Yes, Super Target. I love it. I can get a new blouse, socks for the boys, bread, cereal and a new electrical socket 🙂 There is a super Wal Mart a little closer, but I don’t like it. I’m a shopping snob!

  7. My husband usually does the grocery shopping, but today we (both of us and our teenage daughter) made it a family affair. We go weekly, but today was one of those marathon days since we had been putting off lots of supplies for a couple of weeks. I wish we had a Super Target, but we make do with WalMart and a couple of grocery stores. Today was just two stores because, yep, my husband can tell you which store has the best price on what food down to the penny. I’m more likely to grab the first item I see that’s on my list!

    • Kay- I’d be afraid of what we would be eating if I let my husband do the shopping! When the boys were little, I would buy sugary cereal and a healthier alternative and mix them. So, Cocoa Puffs and Kix became “chocolate and vanilla cereal” Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes, etc… This worked great until my oldest child-my husband- proclaimed one day “Who keeps ruining the good cereal by mixing it?!” The illusion was blown….

      • I love that you had an illusion for the cereal! So clever. I enjoyednhow this piece grew from the moment of others’ judgement, past your own acceptance and into love. Your care and attention to detail, in the writing and in the store and in your family, shines.

  8. I have to say, I never needed to shop in quite the bulk that you do, and given how much I hate the anticipation of going to the store, and even worse, the unpacking once I get home, I guess it’s a good thing. That being said, I do love how, as parents, we do tell our kids we love them with the items we choose to put in our cart. 🙂 I have to go the grocery tomorrow; I will try not to be so cranky about my short trip and few groceries in the cart after hearing about the quantities you buy!

  9. Karen- Your post yesterday reminds me that, all too soon, my trips will require less energy and money. Thank you for that reminder before my shopping marathon:-) I completed my task with a lighter, more loving heart.

  10. Awesome words. This was so clear and visible as I read it. I could see the huffing and puffing of the people who didn’t dare get in line with you. I could see you pulling these enormously stuffed carts through the store. What a job it must be. Great slice!

  11. My weekly grocery run is, sadly, my “me” time. I go on Saturday mornings, out the door by 8, usually. Lately, though, my 8yo daughter has taken to joining me. She likes to ride on the cart right in front of me and be in charge of the grocery list. I like that I can lean my head down and sniff the top of her head. Though she no longer smells like baby, she does still smell like little girl. I wonder how long it will be before she joins her sister in thinking, “Mom is so LAME” and refuse to go anywhere with me unless Forever 21 or a book store are scheduled stops.
    Thank you for sharing.

  12. Grocery shopping is like a ritual. I bet cultures could be defined by grocery shopping habits. I could totally picture the other shoppers taking one look at your cart and moving on to the next lane. I thought that only happened to me–and I don’t have young boys to feed at home… just my husband–and I only go shopping for a week at a time…

  13. Love this grocery shopping post. So, so, so familiar- except mine were trips to Sam’s followed by Target or King Soopers. And yeah, there were always the sports team/club snacks. When my oldest went to college last summer, I cried the first couple of times I went to the grocery store. I didn’t have to buy hot dogs or chili, or Twinkies, or green gatorade, because no one besides him likes those things.

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