Yesterday as the littles and I were pushing our overloaded buggy out of the grocery store with two of us carrying additional bags that wouldn’t fit, I saw him.
The young guy. With two bottles of water and a snazzy brand of high protein granola bars or some such. He was in the self checkout lane.
For just a second I zoned out.
(partially because it took great effort on ALL of our parts to get our cart moving with purpose in the right direction and we had made the mistake of stopping to readjust our load)
I wondered if he’d ever find himself one day apologizing to the cashier every. single. time. he approached the checkout conveyor belt with his full cart. I wondered if he’d feel guilty putting someone through ringing up ALL THE THINGS he had taken so long to painstakingly find, only to get up there, remember three things he’s forgotten, and decide it’s just not worth going back for. I wondered if he’d watch closely to make sure his littles weren’t reading the trashy headlines on all those magazines on display. (There’s just some questions you don’t want to answer quite yet. If ever.)
I wondered if exhaustion would ever overtake him to the point that he’d drive straight up to the drive thru window at the place on the other side of the grocery store parking lot, with a van full of FOOD, to order supper because the trip through the store with the littles was more than enough work for one day. And it all still had to be unloaded at home. And put away.
I wondered if he’d ever map out how to place all those bags of food in his vehicle, so the freezer stuff could be put away quickly but the other things not so much, as in maybe a couple of bags stay on the floor in the kitchen for a day or two, just because.
I watched him ringing up his few items, and I wondered if he’d ever use a self checkout again, later in his life, except for maybe when he is picking up items for his wife who asked him to pick up some personal things on the way home. Or when his children beg him to let them “do it,” causing the supervising cashier to have to come over and clear things out or fix the system a total of four times during the transaction.
I thought about where he might be headed, and I wondered how long those bars would last him. I knew the average on my cart–this not even being a full-fledged stock up trip–and I’d be back before him I was pretty sure.
For just a moment, I wanted to walk out the door with what he had and let him push this stubborn cart across those bumpy things right outside the door taking care not to fling anything off the top or bottom of the buggy. I wanted to leave without my arms full of food, keys, wallet, receipt, and just go.
Granola bars and all.
And then I realized that if my hands were empty, my heart would be too. As my littles helped me unload the buggy, first clearing the floor of the vehicle of all their STUFF THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE ANYTIME WE LEAVE THE HOUSE to make room, and then stacking bread here, chips there, frozen stuff at the front so it could be unloaded first…..I looked at them and all the food and assorted things it takes to take good care of them, and I was humbled and near about knocked to my knees with gratitude. I am sure that young fella has a good life. I hope he was headed somewhere to do something good that would bring him joy. But my life? I’m lucky. I have children who put up with my wackiness as much as I put up with theirs. We’re able to afford providing food and shelter for them, and we enjoy little extras too. We tend to get along well with each other, except when someone touches someone or goes in their room WITHOUT permission. (Also spying on each other when playing with friends is frowned upon.) But other than that, we’re a pretty decent bunch, and I’m quite fond of all, individually and collectively.
Some of my favorite sounds are when my oldest walks through the door, home from college, and Miss Sophie’s tail starts wagging and our Princess’ and Cooter’s tales start wagging and all the laughter and games and music and impromptu dancing ensue.
I wouldn’t miss that for all the quick self-checkouts and snazzy granola bars in the world.
This is my season for full buggies that are hard to push, hour long grocery store trips, and bags of groceries on the kitchen floor.
And for now, that’s a beautiful thing.
Love to all.