This is how Aiden helps with groceries.
I love to shop. It’s a treasure hunt for me. I don’t really need anything for myself anymore so I decided to focus on grocery shopping.
For years, Ben and I would shop together each week. Walmart opened around the time we first started dating and we went there on one of our very first dates. So, to me, each trip to the grocery store felt like date night.
After we had Josh, the three of us would go. After we had Aiden, the four of us would cram down the aisles. I’d like to tell you that we still continue that tradition but life never works out that way.
As the boys got older, they would pick on each other. We would repeatedly say “knock it off!” They would stand in front of someone’s cart and we would have to shout “watch out!” They would linger and we would have to say “come on” a million times. Ben would get irritated at the long lines and slow cashiers. He would ask me why I didn’t have a list. It didn’t feel like date night anymore.
One day I had enough! I banned the three of them from going with me every week. I also said that I would NEVER EVER take all three of them together again.
I went by myself each week for a while but it was lonely. It felt good at first. I got through the aisles much quicker but I had nobody to talk to. So I decided to try something different. Each week I would take just ONE of the boys with me.
We have been doing this for about five years and I look forward to my shopping “date” each week with one of my boys. We talk about the budget. We sing in the car. We play this game where I throw a grocery item to them, they catch it and put it in the cart. They help me pack the groceries and it’s a rule that whoever goes with me doesn’t have to put them away when we get home.
Each week they complain about going. They say they don’t want to. They ask if they can skip. They act like I’m a horrible mother.
Josh’s week goes something like this. He doesn’t talk to me at first, he’s on his phone. About half way there he starts to laugh and joke with me and forgets about his phone. He likes to make our trip a race and see if we can get it done quicker than last time we went together. We play the “price is right” game at the register to see who is closer. He wants a piece of candy at checkout. He is my expert packer. It is a challenge for him to fit the groceries in the bag. He treats it like a puzzle and says “Mom, look how good this fits?” I tell him he’s the best and I’m so glad that he’s the one that’s with me that week. We get home and he yells at Aiden to come out and put the groceries away. He’s back on his phone and then I lose him again for awhile.
Aiden’s week is much different than Josh’s week. Aiden doesn’t talk at first either. He tells me this is the worst part of his week. About half way there I ask if he wants to have a singing competition. He says “no” at first but then finally names a song, we rate each other on a scale from 1-10. We always end up with the same score and need to have a tiebreaker. We get to the store and Aiden doesn’t open his door. I ask him to hurry, he takes his time. He enjoys the moment instead of rushing it. We get the cart and he stands in front of me and I have to ask him to move a little quicker. My game of throwing groceries amuses him for a bit. He asks if we are almost done. I suggest we play another game called “we can’t leave the store until we do three nice things for someone.” He moves a little quicker on the lookout for someone to be kind to. We laugh as try to complete our mission. He has a kind heart and always completes this task quickly. He doesn’t pack the bags like Josh, it’s not a puzzle to him. He throws the things in the bag. He sits on the counter as I help fix his bag to make room for everything. I look at his sweet eyes, he smiles and I thank him for coming with me. He responds with a “well, I didn’t have a choice now did I?” I laugh.😂
Some weeks I go alone and enjoy the quiet. Some weeks Ben surprises me and we go on a “grocery date”. Most weeks I “force” one of the boys to go with me. I even made Sergio, our foreign exchange student go with me once a month.
Last week Josh asked if Aiden could join us and it could be just the three of us. I hesitated as I remember the fighting from years ago. I thought we could give it a try. I’m so glad we did. There was no fighting. They both helped. Aiden laughed as he told Josh the story of the time I knocked a glass jar off the shelf and spilled spaghetti sauce all over the floor. He said he was so embarrassed. Josh told Aiden of the time I was playing “throw the groceries” with him and almost hit some guy on the head. We raced each other down the aisles and had a great time. In true Aiden style, when we pushed the filled cart to the car Aiden jumped in the backseat. This picture is how he decided to help us. As he always does, he made us laugh.
I hope that someday they will look back on these trips not as the worst part of their week but as the best part. I know I will.