Okay... so I am getting ready to oust myself as a pretty big dork but here goes.... I went to the grocery store BY MYSELF yesterday and LOVED IT!!! Seriously I was like a little kid in a candy store, and speaking of little kids....Mine were in preschool (hence being by myself) and I got to go to the grocery store BY MYSELF!!!
Now before going to the store was no big deal. Especially pre-kids. If anything it was a chore that could be pretty old and it seemed like I had no organization or patterns to my shopping. It was just a breeze in breeze out grab what I needed and go home. But then I had the boys. And everything changed about my experience of going to the store. It wasn't so bad at first.... Especially when they were infants. In fact I used to love going to the store with Evan while he was sound asleep in his infant carrier propped up so carefully in the grocery cart so I could look down at him in awe as people would pass by me and smile and coo and the little sweet baby. It was a good way for me to get out of the house and walk around even if I was still half asleep and was only there to buy nursing pads and a frozen pizza.
But as the years have gone by and that sleeping little baby has turned into quite the non sleeping almost 4 year old and his partner in crime, the defiantly non sleeping almost 3 year old. Together the have formed a special alliance called "Operation Grocery Store Hell" and for months have made my shopping experience a living nightmare. Not that it is all their fault I mean I can understand how they can get bored easily and sure I can grocery shop on the weekends with my husband... Although even that lately has proved challenging since every time I pull out my coupons and grocery list on a Saturday morning my husband takes off like a lighting bolt babbling something about yard work and he disappears outside not to be seen again until dusk.
So, it's up to me, the Mom and keeper of said kitchen and all other necessities to gather up the children and head to the store when the need arises. It usually begins with the psycho theme playing my head as we pull up to the Super Target. The children who know this place well are already whining about wanting a cookie and a toy even before I have pulled them out of their car seats. Getting them in to the store and settled in the cart is also another Olympian sport filled with lots of yelling, wrestling and sometimes downright blackmail. I have learned that before I do anything the free cookie station must be visited first. This will ensure at least 3 minutes of quite as I race down the aisle grabbing as much as I can before the children have finished chewing. It leaves little time for price comparing and basic intelligent shopping but I don't care. I am on a mission and this must be accomplished quickly. Of course usually by aisle 4 the cookies are gone and the toddlers are now engaged in a pushing game which starts off fun for them only to end a few minutes later with one of them crying and the other standing up in the cart wanting to knock over the tomato display. Then comes the river of juice boxes, and more snacks such as cookies crackers or anything vaguely resembling a gummy bear. I leave a trail of crumbs and juice spots so that if I somehow disappear into grocery store abyss anyone can find me. I say things like "Sit down or you are going to get a spanking." and "No, we may not get Captain crunch cereal". All spoken with a relatively serious tone yet not too serious for fear of other people hearing me and thinking I am the worst Mother ever. I play games...I let them pick out some of their lunch items (never a good idea because all these children want is french fires and ice cream.) I beg them to behave when the full on boredom sets in and I try not to be that person that I used to stare at in the grocery store ten years ago that I swore I would never turn into...
And all of that is usually within the first five minutes. Needless to say when the shopping is done and I have checkout I end up carting two sniffling sobbing children out in to the parking lot along with a $300 dollar grocery bill thanks to my drive by grab anything method. My sanity and patience is still back in the produce aisle and I am actually muttering out loud to nobody that I am never doing this again even if it means my family will starve.
So, it was with joyous delight yesterday that I got to enter the infamous Super Target right after I dropped both kids off at school for my solo shopping trip that I actually was so excited about the night before that when shared with my husband he actually patted me on the head and said I needed to get out more.
My cart empty, and my list handy I start shopping....Alone. Happy, uninterrupted and non-stressed. Although my cart did try and steer itself to the free cookie station out of habit I stayed the course. I actually looked at prices, looked at the weekly specials. Contemplated different menu's in my head for the week to cook for that guy I see roaming the house in the evenings and sadly gets overlooked quite a lot. I lallygagged down each aisle stared at all the new stuff out these days (since when did they start putting Vinegar in Windex). I soaked up every ounce of pure grocery-ness and every now and then I would spy another Mom there also solo. We recognize each other not only because we have seen each other there before with our screaming kids but because also we are all doing the same happy slow stroll up and down each aisle sniffing the Febrezze fabric softener. We do a polite nod at one another but we do not speak. We do not even stop. We are too much in our zone too much in grocery store heaven to stop and talk. There is so much to see, so much to do and so much alone time to absorb. That is until I run into the Mom who is there with her kids and has the same look on her face as Hannibal Lector. Once again I recognize the signs and give her a polite smile and pass by her wanting to tell her that one day she will be in my shoes... She will get to experience the bliss of shopping alone She will get to be me one day.... And then it hits me. As much as I am enjoying my moment I miss Evan and Ryan. I miss it being a threesome. My crew, my little helpers. Even when they are driving me crazy. I am with them and really that is all that matters. I am so lucky to be with them every day. So with that in mind and my list complete. I head over to the toy aisle...After all, my cart is already heading in that direction. I am just following behind.
Chris and I at one of our favorite spots. Capt Hiram's Resort in Sebastian, Florida. An outside venue called The Sandbar that stretches along the inter coastal waterway. We go once a year in September when we go down to see Chris's folks. We stay there for two nights at the resort and basically get to know each other again. I love the one picture of Chris because he looks so relaxed and at peace. I think he and I both are at peace when we are near the water.
We had a wonderful time. The marina pictures are taken from our seat at the Sandbar. The Sunset photo was taken from our balcony. It was beautiful.
I am sometimes hit with this question... How can they be mine? These beautiful, active, funny, adorable little creatures....How is this possible? I mean I aways knew one day I would be a Mom but sometimes when I look at Evan and Ryan I am hit with such an amazing feeling of luck. They were meant for me....I was meant for them and yet I still sometimes wonder how? I hits me in small waves... Last night when I was checking on them before I went to bed. They were sound asleep each in their own little ways. Evan curled up in a ball, all his "bankies" rolled up in a ball tucked underneath him. His heavy breathing and a slight little whimper as I lean down and kiss his check, almost inhale him and the faint scent of his bath form hours earlier. He is growing up on me so fast. He will be 4 in January. And yet I still inhale him every night like I did when he was a baby. His soft check his sweet little nose.... All trouble he had given me earlier in the day completely forgotten as I close his door and whisper "nigh night."
On to Ryan's room. The night light illuminates his perfect white blonde hair shaggy over his closed eyes. Still in a crib, I lean over and realize that soon he will be in a big boy bed like his brother and how this is possible his last link to babyhood. He will be 3 in February, defiantly no longer a baby but oh in so many ways he is. Especially when he is a sleep. He still loves to sleep on his back, his arms outstretched over his head. His cheeks puffed out in deep slumper and I really see how more and more he is looking like his Daddy. I rub his tummy, lay a light blanket over him and tell him I love him. I walk out of the room and stand in the hall way between their doors. Again wondering.... "How are they mine?"
They just are. And luckily for me, they always will be... and tonight I am writing this all down so I will never forget this time in my life and theirs.