Dread is defined as “to anticipate with great apprehension or fear; to be afraid of, worry about, be anxious or have forebodings, unease or angst”. For example, “Jane was dreading to visit her in-laws”, or “The thought of a cramped elevator filled Bob with dread.” For me personally, the idea, the very notion, and the ever gnawing feeling of hunger is prompting me to do the one thing I really dread…going to the grocery store with my kids!
Yes it’s summertime and all but inevitable that they will have to accompany me to the store. Normally, when school is in session, I have time to work around their schedules and mine to make a quick trip without having two voices constantly interrupting my train of thought. When I go to the store alone I have my routine down pat. I enter and grab a disinfectant wipe and wipe down that disgusting cart. Did you know that grocery store carts and movie theater seats are some of the worse carriers of germs? Anyway, disinfect first and then I make my way. I go through the produce first, quickly scanning for deals and avoiding the unfortunate mark up of organic. I wind through the seafood section glancing at the lobsters and wondering who pays for these things? I do, but not at $15 a pound! Then it’s through the deli section and through the meat and chicken. I dodge through processed food aisles with cereal and snacks which I try to avoid (except for the occasional box of Lucky Charms, because they really are “magically delicious”). I continue to make my way, check items off my list, quickly charge through the frozen foods because it’s always too darn cold, and make way back up to the checkout lanes. If I’m organized and stick to my list, I can easily make it in and out in less than an hour.
Yesterday was a different story.
I had to go to the store. The shelves in our pantry were slowly diminishing to down to cornstarch and a can of pumpkin. Sigh. The kids were coming with me.
Now at the store I’m trying to stick to my plan but I have two little beings who are constantly pumping me with questions. “What are we eating for dinner tonight?”, and “Will you buy me candy if I’m really good?” I always laugh at that one. Trying to work my way through produce, one of my munchkins insist on picking out their own fruit and weighing it, while the other one is whining about me not letting him push the cart. I remind him that I would like to keep my achilles in tact and at the rate he clips the back of my feet, I’m going to lose.
As we wander through the aisles I feel defeat approaching. My plan is starting to unravel. I pass other moms in the aisles with the same looks on their faces. We’re not enjoying these trips to the store. We’re trying to survive like POWs; prisoners of war whose grocery carts are like work wagons that we’re pushing. Once in a while I will bump into a mom I know and we exchange the look. The look that says, “How did we get here? It feels like yesterday that we were celebrating 21.” I hear a cry that jolts me back to present time. My kids are fighting over which brand of macaroni to buy.
Each aisle produces new sorts of questions and ideas. “Let’s buy lemonade and do a lemonade stand!”, and “Yes, and let’s get cookies and brownies too and we can have a bake sale.” In 95 degree heat and humidity that feels like a hot, wet blanket? Think again kiddos.
Finally, I’m beginning to see a light. It’s the frozen food section and I realize I’m almost home free! A few quick passes grabbing milk, and ice cream, I begin to make my way to the checkout lanes. I hear voices behind beginning to cry about why we’re not stopping to try sausage samples, or why am I not buying the dog more dog treats, but I AM NOT STOPPING! I quickly search for a couple of checkers that I know are fast or don’t do the “small talk”. You know those who always ask annoying questions like “How is your day going?” and “Did you find everything you needed?” I usually say “fine” but I really want to respond with “How do you think it’s going? My kids won’t stop talking and asking my to buy things”, and “The only thing I need is a pina colada and a nice quiet beach to enjoy. Does your store carry that?”
I see my old friend, “what’s his name”, and he quickly checks us out. He’s retired and has zero patience with kids and he sees I want out quickly. No coupons, no ice, no help out to my car…just give me my receipt!
He tears off the receipt and I go for the exit. The glass doors slide open, the sun beats down its warmth on my face and FREEDOM! We’re done. We made it. Groceries are loaded, kids are in the seats with belts attached, air conditioning is blasting, and we head home. Pulling into the driveway it feels good to finally be over with it.
Sigh…now time to unload.