“Stay focused…please!”

Since having surgery a month ago, I’ve been severely limited from doing many of my usual tasks.   It was incredibly difficult not to bend over for two weeks after surgery, and not being able to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk stretched far beyond just dairy products.   I learned well before the procedure that grocery shopping was a large trigger for me and my angry back–mostly because pushing a cart full of enough groceries to feed our family was quite heavy.   So it came as no surprise that afterwards, I wasn’t going to be able to shop alone, both because I couldn’t lift and couldn’t push.

For the first week or two, I didn’t do any shopping.  Todd and the kids took the list and knocked it out.  But as you can imagine, being in the house for two weeks without going out much at all can start to mess with the mind, so by week three I was begging to do something productive.   (I may or may not live a boring, middle-aged life if venturing out to get groceries equals excitement, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.)

In short, I’ve been able to spend “quality” time with my four oldest children through the past three weeks, all under the guise of shopping with mom.  And in doing so, I’ve been able to observe the very different personalities of my children, from the way they attack (or don’t attack!) the store, to their cart pushing style, to the items that catch their fancy.   For instance, when shopping with Brendan the first time, I was deathly afraid that my Achilles tendons were going to suffer major trauma because his stopping distance was so terribly long.  For anyone whose been clipped with the front of a shopping cart with the back of their ankles, you know that fear.  It’s a pain you don’t soon forget.   I finally had to explain my worry to him, and now he assures me, “Mom, I know you think I might hit you, but I’m really watching and I’m going to make sure I don’t.”  That was very sweet of him, I thought to myself, as he sideswiped the freezer aisle and took out a few sales stickers.  Baby steps…

Hannah, my future cruise director, was all business and practically led me around the store.  She even brought her own list of goodies she needed to buy.  We’ve been to the store a couple times and it is always a fun, efficient time.   It’s a good chance for us to chat away from everyone else, and we usually talk about recipes she’s pinned or would like to try.  The only thing that slowed her down were the candles.  We had to smell every scent.  🙂

Patrick, on the other hand, doesn’t have an urgent bone in his body, I am convinced.  The child just will. not. move.  quickly.  I often have wondered what it would take to see him jolt–and have all but concluded that his pants would have to be on fire.  He’s laid back and just is not in a hurry.  This of course translated to his shopping style.  He did everything I asked of him, but just on “beach time,” as I like to call it.  He’s r-e-l-a-x-e-d.  Unsurprisingly, he liked to look at everything and talk about it all at length too.  “Hey Mom, you remember that time you bought us the ‘On brand’ orange juice? ……Yeah…..That was awesome…..”  If I could learn to take a hint from my son’s unhurriedness, I bet my life would feel a lot more enjoyable.  He must look at me and expect my heart to explode at any moment from the stress I put upon myself.   🙂  I’m pretty sure he didn’t appreciate my constant “OK, let’s just keep moving.  I don’t want to be here all day!” standard Mom-ism.

Then, there are Brendan and Ben, because these two always go hand in hand.  Rarely will you see Ben without Brendan, and if you see B1, you’re almost certain to see B2 close by.  I often think they are really fraternal twins that just happened to be born 16 months apart.  So of course, if one of them went shopping with me, the other had to tag along as well.  These two are wholly different from either Hannah or Patrick.  For one thing, they are extremely helpful.  Brendan insists on pushing the cart and Ben wants to hold the list and cross things off as we get them.  But going to the grocery store is like the first time, every time.   With them, there are lots of excited (read loud) exclamations.  “OH!!! THEY HAVE BREAD HERE!!!!!!”  followed soon after by “LOOK AT ALL THE CONTAINERS OF MUSTARD!!!!!!” and other such amazed interjections.   Tonight while I was trying to do a price comparison on cheese, Brendan was obviously practicing to be to shopping carts what the lawn mower guys are like in 4th of July parades.  He tried to spin it around and even did a little turn himself before I turned to see him jump.  What do you do except laugh?  Thankfully he didn’t careen into anyone! We continued on in our journey and we had many more exciting discoveries, like, “MOM! DID YOU KNOW THAT CEREAL IS ON SALE AGAIN THIS WEEK!!!?!?!??!?!!?!?!”

At the end of the shopping trips, however, I’m so thankful to have the help.  No matter which child comes along (or how much they make me laugh–or not laugh), he or she or they always help me load the van (and they are quickly realizing how careful they should be with Mom’s bread!), and everyone comes out to help unload the groceries when we get home.  Although no one likes to be restricted in what they can do, it’s actually been a blessing in our family in that the kids have taken on more responsibility.  We want them to learn how to be adults and that running a house takes everyone’s help.  I appreciate their willingness to step in and step up and allow me the time to heal.

Most of all, I have really enjoyed getting a closer look at the unique personalities they have been gifted with by God.   In fact, I’m thinking it’s a good excuse to extend the “shopping with mom” trips well beyond six weeks…


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Aunt Laura
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 18:01:26

    I loved reading about their personalities as grocery shoppers. Too funny! I love each of their beautiful personalities!


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