Tuesday’s plans included the grocery store and the pool. When I told the kids this news, Ali said with a sigh, “Let’s go to the grocery store first. I like to get the hard things over with first.”
“Oh really, honey, is going to the grocery store so hard for you?”
“Yes, it’s just not fun. And it’s a lot of work.”
I internalized the rest of the conversation so as to not permanently prevent my daughter from having children. But here’s how it went.
I am SO sorry that tagging along at the grocery store is so hard for your seven and a half year old body. I know it’s terribly taxing, as they only give you one cookie each, you have to pick out snacks and lunch food, all while riding around in the race car grocery cart that you’ve outgrown but I still allow you to use.
You poor, poor thing.
I have noted your complaint and found it LACKING.
Until you have to tell a three-year-old to SIT on his BOTTOM fifty-hundred times during each two-minute interval then have to wrench his leg free of the upper cart because he didn’t SIT on his BOTTOM like you told him to and now he’s screaming because he’s stuck, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you have to maneuver a whimsically-shaped shopping cart that is the shape and weight of a whale that just ate two wriggling children and that is scientifically crafted to be physically unable to pass by another whale of a grocery cart without knocking twelve cans of corn off the shelf and onto your toe, YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.
Until you have picked up a pack of ground beef only to drip meat blood onto your shirt and toes and possibly toddler, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you have had to answer the question(s) “are we done yet can we have another cookie I wanna go home why are we at the store I want candy can I have a car from the overpriced toy shelf I don’t want those cookies I want these cookies I NEED a balloon my favorite color is not red I don’t like that juice I want this juice can I have a cookie?” then your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you have had to explain to a whimpering toddler why you will not turn around and ask for another free cookie just because he dropped his AS HE ALWAYS DOES and no he cannot have it back because it’s covered in grocery store floor germs AS IT ALWAYS IS, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you’ve had to pick up three dozen boxes of previously delicately-iced cupcakes because you knocked over a rickety folding table with your whale of a cart that took up twice the given clearance on either side of the table which was inexplicably placed in the produce section, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you’ve had to politely dodge nosy elderly ladies who feel the need to tell you that your child isn’t properly harnessed or is leaning over the edge of the cart or has chocolate on their face or has non-matching clothes, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you have to hold your breath and bite your lip to keep from crying out in pain when your grocery total comes up because HOLY FREAKING QUINOA grocery prices have skyrocketed, your trip to the store isn’t hard.
Until you’ve had to maneuver your blimp of a cart to the car and unload groceries and children and attempt to return the cart and close all doors and properly latch all children while your phone rings and the children whine about how hot they are without losing your already-fragile mind, YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.
And until you’ve run home, carried bags of groceries up the stairs and into the kitchen, frantically unloaded the cold stuff, packed a cooler, and sprinted back to the car to take your precious children to the pool so that they can have a fulfilled life, then YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.
That is all.