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.