Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Krogering



Attention Kroger shoppers,

In case you were wondering, I don't enjoy hauling four small children to the grocery store.

Their dad is out of town, and we have no milk. Nor tortillas. Nor peanut butter. Nor bananas. I just named the four basic food groups in this home, and they were all depleted. My children were on the verge of starvation.

Not only that, but I was out of Fat Free Half and Half, and my coffee with Fat Free Half and Half is proof that His mercies are new every morning.

Obviously there was a crisis in my home. Otherwise I would have never carted four children to the store right between dinner and bedtime. I would have come by myself, because when I am by myself, I don't beg myself for a car cart, I don't throw a fit over TicTacs, I don't beg for cookies in the bakery, I don't drop my pacifier on the disgusting grocery store floor, and my bladder can withstand the entire shopping trip without having to relieve itself even once.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. So desperately, off the five of us went.

Some of you were nice. To the woman who laughed out loud when Shep and Maggie burst into "You can't always get what you waaa-annnnnt" as their sister cried over my refusal to buy her press-on nails, thank you. My kids are indeed entertaining, and it makes me happy that you shared in a little of my joy.

To the older woman on the detergent aisle, who looked at me with "that smile", I knew exactly what you were going to say before you said it. I have seen "that smile" before. That smile is always followed by, "I had seven (or five, or six) myself." And I don't have to tell you, because you already know, that phrase is about the most encouraging thing you can say to me. Instantly I know, you get it. And you lived to tell! And shop by yourself again!

To the woman who let out a stream of curse words when you knocked over the tampon boxes: I understand that my son caused a hormonal surge in you when he said, "Wow, that lady sure is grumpy." But I'm sorry, you totally had it coming. And everyone was laughing at you, not with you.

To the man who let out an exaggerated sigh when my daughter joyfully pushed her little kid cart out of the aisle and into your way: sorry, yeah, they can be annoying. You were too at that age.

To the older woman in the black jacket ahead of me in the checkout line, you kept shooting looks at me too. You should know that I know what those looks mean, as I am used to them as well. Those Looks always seem to come from certain women of my mother's generation who believe that it should be a crime for any woman to bear any more than a respectable 2.5 children. And if we insist on breeding them, then we should at least be considerate enough to leave them at home and out of your personal space.

I get rather irritated by those looks, and the occasional ugly comments, and I have an urge to look at you with wild eyes and say, "We're not even done. We're gonna have more!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

But mostly I feel sorry for people like you, Black Jacket Lady. And I'd like to tell you another grocery store story.

My friend Araceli was in the checkout lane with her three small boys. The boys were acting like three boys do and Araceli was frazzled and aggravated. Suddenly an elderly woman came over to her, patted her hand, looked her in the eyes and said, "Dear, I'd give anything in the world to trade places with you right now."

I know you don't understand that, Black Jacket Lady. But I do. And one day, God willing, I will be that elderly lady, and I might just say those very same words to an exhausted young mom, and it might cause her to fight back the tears and hug her little boys in the middle of the Kroger checkout lane, just like Araceli did.

So thank you, Black Jacket Lady. Your dirty looks today reminded me how amazingly, amazingly blessed I am.

And my children thank you too, as they scored some TicTacs out of it.



originally published 6/2/09

71 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, you had me laughing because I totally relate! (Although when it's me at the grocery store with my 4 in the bathroom for the 2nd time, it sure doesn't seem very funny!)

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  2. Andy worked very long days all last week and so I had to do the shopping with all of mine a few times too. And the pregnant belly doesn't help with the Looks.

    But I don't care. :)

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  3. Sweet post. I'm impressed you have your wits about you enough to write it!

    And yeah, in a blink you'll be at your youngest child's 8th grade graduation like I was today.

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  4. i'm glad i'm not the only one with a kid who begs for press on nails. what is it with those things?

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  5. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I have to tell you that it brings a little smile to my face each day. I so know that grocery store saga. For me, I have 3 kiddos but we are living in Italy, so combine kids in grocery with speaking English and we stick out like sore thumbs. At least I can not understand what they are saying when they talk about us...

    -Rebecca
    http://web.me.com/rebecca_milliken/Site/Blog/Blog.html

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  6. Thank you Missy! What a great post.

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  7. Thanks so much for this post. It perfectly captures our trips to the grocery store. I needed some perspective after my trip to Whole Foods yesterday with the crew...

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  8. Oh, so wonderful! I was laughing and then got to the end and now I want to go scoop up my little ones and hug them tight. Thank you!

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  9. Man, black jacket lady can really move, 'cause I am fairly certain she was behind be in line the other day when they had to do a price check for something in my cart whike the 5 YO pleaded for chocolate and the 1YO begged for a nap. But, ya know, it msy have just been her twin sister Sleazy red tank-top lady. Who knows!!

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  10. you made it sound so simple. no mention of you going partially bald by pulling out your own hair while the other kids raced up and down the aisles. Or wait, is that just my kids that do that?

    Steph

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  11. let's go krogering, krogering, krogering. let's go krogering, for the best of everything!

    sorry, couldn't resist.

    it's moments like that i wish braums still sold milk/bread/etc through the drive thru lane!

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  12. When you can laugh and get choked up in one post, that is a beautiful thing. You are a great blogger.

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  13. I, too, was laughing and then teary. It goes by much too quickly.

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  14. My favorite Kroger moment was when Silas projectile-vomited in the meat department. Then smiled.

    And my least-favorite comment is, "Boy, you've got your hands full." Followed by, "I bet they keep you busy." You think?

    And I know so well what you mean by the generation ahead of us being appalled at more than two kids ...

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  15. Perfect story! Thanks for the reminder...I needed it!

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  16. I truly love your blog. And I truly loved this post. And I truly love that your children also sing The Stones when they "can't always get what they want." This post=happy minutes in my afternoon. Thank you greatly.

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  17. Just having one child at the store with me is enough to make me want to pull my hair out...I can imagine what it's like with four. As we say here in the South...Bless your heart. : )

    And sometimes I have to literally bite my tongue to keep from saying something to mean people at the store.

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  18. Oh my! I love love love your blog. I too have 4 little ones thus far and just yesterday we all ventured to the grocery store ~HEB for us, it is always an adventure!

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  19. I regularly grocery shop with all 3 boys so that comment about trading places with her, struck me. I need to remember that someday, I will want to trade places with someone even when I feel like drop kicking them to the car!

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  20. I love this - but especially the end. I've had those days and a few times someone will actually say something really sweet and encouraging and then I remember that I am blessed. And just at the doctor's office mere hours ago, the lady at the desk asked me if I had a day care and I only had 2/5 of my kids with me.

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  21. Ahhhh, the gloriousness of fat-free half and half. I JUST weaned myself off flavored creamer because I did the math. I was ingesting 700 -1,000 calories PER DAY in creamer. MIGHT have something to do with not losing postpartum weight! Since switching to ff half and half I lost 7 pounds in 2.5 weeks. Um. Not a coincidence!

    And praise the Lord and hallelujah fish oil is my new bff...right after you, of course :)

    Doing MUCH better.

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  22. Great story -- and the "other" grocery store story is priceless.

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  23. Your blog kicked up memories. It was so long ago but grocery shopping with children stays with you forever. I felt sad that those days were gone.

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  24. I could write this post...only with three kids instead of four. Although,anything more than one kid feels like 27 kids, so it doesn't really matter.

    Which reminds me...remember when one kid in the grocery store or the restaurant felt SO HARD??????

    Anyway, I hope I'm always the lady who says "been there" and "I understand."

    Though I'm not entirely convinced I'll be the one who says "I'd trade places with you."

    I really look forward to the days I can shop alone again. I'll miss my kids and I'll miss them being little and cute. But I honestly don't think I'll miss shopping with them.

    Or having a trashed house. I won't miss that.

    In the trenches right along with ya,
    Sandy

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  25. I will not miss having a dirty house.


    Altho I did have a woman tell me that when her grandkids visit, she does not wash off their little handprints on the windows. So, maybe we will.

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  26. You made me laugh so hard and then cry! Thank you so much for this post. I really appreciate it. We only have two little ones right now but are expecting another and haven't told anyone yet. Nobody we know has more than 2 kids (accept one couple, the youth director and wife who tell everyone that number 3 was an accident!) And while I dread the reaction from friends and definitely family, in reality- we should just look at them with those wild eyes you suggested and say " And we're not done yet! We're gonna have more!!!!" LOL THank YOU! You blessed my heart!

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  27. You are too funny. When I take all 6 of mine shopping, no one really makes eye contact with me. Maybe I am too distracted to notice??? When I only have 4 or less of them with me, I get more comments. One time a man was talking to my kids while he was smoking. (I was unloading kids from the van in the parking lot)My four year old told him that,"My mom says that smoking is very bad for you!" I smiled at him and hussled them off to the store. The older kids were even more mortified than I was!

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  28. I am still laughing....Enjoyed reading your blog today..still finding my way around blogland....I always love making new friends..I am posting about Disney so hope you will stop by. Commenting automatically puts you in the drawing for the June giveaway.

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  29. Oh, that was great. I took all three kids to the store the other day too -- and no exaggeration, I think some woman gave me the evil look for at least 30 seconds. A full, dead-on stare. At first it bothered me, but then I looked at my kids being kids, and looked back at her glare, and suddenly the whole thing became very funny to me. As if her glaring at me was going to change anything, bu wah ha ha!! And my kids were giggling and smiling and (being loud) and it truly made me see that moment for what it was: something to be grateful for.

    So I just smiled at the lady and went on my way, snickering to myself the rest of the trip.

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  30. I love this! HA HA!
    It's reminded me to appreciate ALL times with my little guy because one day he will be all grown up and I will shop by myself. And remember...there are even young women who struggle with infertility who would LOVE to be in your shoes, too. :)

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  31. This makes me respect my mother-in-law even more, who had five children (the youngest were twins) all under the age of 7 at one time.

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  32. I have had to pack lunches before to get through the store. One advantage of being military and shopping at the commissary is that most ladies are in the same frazzled, "daddy is deployed and I'm going insane" state, too! Your post is precious and I can't wait for the kids to get up to hug them- well, I can wait- you know what I mean!

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  33. my favorite question is "are all these YOURS?"

    we were in the mall not long ago and someone asked luke that. he said, 'well these aren't ALL ours..the other 4 are at home.' he never cracked a grin and the lady was speechless..lol it was great.

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  34. What a post! I laughed and cried. Blessings to you and your precious family!

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  35. Oh my goodness!!!!!! That is so funny! I get so tired of hearing,"You sure have your hands full!" seriously!!!
    I have 4 also. 10, 8, 4, 2
    Thats for the laughs.

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  36. I've only got two kids to pack around, and that's challenge enough for me! God bless you and yours, and can I just say I roared when I read about two of your singing "You can't always get what you want" to their sister? I can totally see my older son doing that to my younger son when the younger is old enough to understand. LOLOLOL

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  37. You are too funny! Life with 4 kids must keep you busy, I just have 1 and she keeps me on my toes. I look forward to more amusing posts!

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  38. I just came across your site and I wanted to say thank you for writing this. I am a mom of only one daughter, but we plan to have as many as 4 or 5 or 6 if god will let us ;) and your stories make me laugh at how crazy our lives will be, but also how full of love they will be too.

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  39. Over from Baby Bangs and I love this post!!!!

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  40. When I need to go to the grocery store, everyone goes with me. Such is my life. So I have many stories like this one.

    But honestly? I tend to think I'll someday miss having the Adventure of Grocery Shopping. I mean, where's the challenge if you don't have someone trying to climb out of the baby seat, someone else throwing bags of candy into the back of the cart and someone else ... gone. Just gone. (My kids tend to disappear in the grocery store. I need some leashes.)

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  41. Oh my your comments on my blog had me LOL!!! I also loved that site for large families, I was reading some of them to my hubby over the phone. So glad that I found your blog!

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  42. Such a funny post! And it is so interesting the variety of reactions other people have to my children. What a blessing it is to encounter the ones who smile and tell me how cute they are even when they are screaming and coated in chocolate and cracker crumbs with runny noses!

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  43. Ummm...never taken all of my kids to the store together but I'm pretty sure we would get some glares!

    Glad I stopped by your blog today...I'm guessing you don't come by mine often either...

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  44. That was awesome. Obviously you are in good company, judging by all these comments! :) And I'm right there with you too. Like when my son got his knee stuck in the bars of the rack under the shopping cart, and a nice older lady stood by my side saying things like...her son had always done crazy things like this and he survived and so did she... as an employee pryed the bars apart. Sometimes I think those nice people are angels in disguise!

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  45. Loved every word! We have four girls, all grown. I so well remember that frazzled feeling and the feeling of running to keep up all the time.

    I would not have missed one minute of it! If I ran into you, I'd be one of those women giving you "that smile," because you are in the best time of your life.

    The thing about being a mom is that you always are living your purpose and you know all of it counts, not just today but into future generations. What a God-given privilege to have that kind of impact! With your outlook and humor, you're leaving your mark in the best way possible. Keep on enjoying and God bless.

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  46. Oh - that was good. Thanks for the giggle.
    Amy@balmingilead.typepad.com

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  47. We just had our fourth child and I got so tired of the comments while I was pregnant and of course they just keep on comin! I cant wait to be like those sweet older ladies and give those bits of encouragement. And Missy if you've ever wished you had spaced yours out farther? Well dont because it doesnt make a difference. My 10 yr old makes the smaller ones ca-razy!

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  48. What a great post...I had so much anxiety about going to the grocery store after my 2nd was born...because of "those looks." But I have gotten over it. And, I love the side story...we are truly in the time of our lives with these little ones. Thanks for writing this!

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  49. Missy:
    Came over from Amanda's site because she said we shouldn't miss your Krogering experience. It so happens that today my youngest son 18 yrs. old left to go play summer baseball with an awesome team. He will be 9 hours away from us for most of the summer. Now of course I will see him again, like next weekend, and then two weeks after that and then a week after that but it's the weeks in between that might just kill me. Hug those babies and know that there will come a time when you do clean their room and bathroom and it stays that way. Enjoy these times, I promise they will grow up and when they are blessed with awesome opportunities you can only be so thrilled for them that you are there packing with them and hugging them like you'll never stop. And when the door closes, and you step back in your house the tears will flow and you don't think that they ever will stop! This is what my morning has been like so your post made me laugh, cry and remember and I laughed again. Enjoy those babies because there comes a time when your babies just have to go and you are never the same.

    Typing through tears of sorrow and joy!

    Theresa

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  50. Love, love, loved this!! Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale.

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  51. Amen! I needed that older lady to pat my hand when I was in Target the other week. Nice to know I'm not alone.

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  52. When we were living in Japan and Sean was about 6 he decided to drop to the floor in the commissary (grocery store) and do a very realistic "death rattle" complete with twitches.

    That was embarrassing.

    I threatened my kids if they begged for anything that I would sing along to the piped in music..."We've Only Just Begun....to liiiiiiiiive! White lace and promises..." It worked!

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  53. Laughed out loud about the swearing lady. : )

    I have to remind myself when my son (my ONLY child, too!) is talking. my. ear. OFF. while I'm trying to look at my coupons and list trying to figure out if getting double of .50 is better than getting .75 out of four, that one day I will miss it.

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  54. I love you! I miss hanging out with you! You write so beautifully! I want to watch your kids for you next time so you can go to the store alone. I want to just hang out with all of our crazy kids!

    I wonder what Black Jacket Lady would think if I brought my soon-to-be 6 to the store!! :)

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  55. I'm so honored you came by my blog to say hi. Especially because I got to come over here and read and learn from you and your adorable children. I'm now the older lady who can help because I'm blessed to be a grandmother. And I will help. Have an amazing day.

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  56. Missy, I only have one child, but hope the Lord grants me/us many more and already I feel the way you wrote about...the looks when I'm out. As if I could put a stop to my son's personality...as if I'd WANT to!! Anyway, thank you for your entire site and your encouragement...and your wonderful Calvinist humor. :)

    Lisa

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  57. Thank you for this great post! I can relate perfectly and it helps to be able to see the lighter side of it and just laugh!!

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  58. Thanks for posting this! I am always at the grocery store with my 2 and 3 year old, and I was sooooo relating to this! A friend referred your blog to me, and reading it today has brought great encouragement. Keep up the good work!

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  59. We LAUGHED because my children know the Rolling Stones song too! And they sing it to each other as well! I have a dear friend who has five blessings and someone actually asked her if they all had the same father! It is sad that so many don't see the little miricles running around right before their eyes. May the Lord give them eyes to see.
    Thanks again!

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  60. Okay Missy...ever since you descided to "take a break" from blogging, your posts have been so fantastic! (They always are, but the last weeks have made me laugh, cry, drop everything in prayer, and everything else.) Thank you for your humor, your heart for Christ, and for making my life with 4 kids seem so normal!
    Many Blessings!

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  61. Thanks Jenn! That's because they've ALL been reruns!!!!!!

    :/

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  62. You made me laugh, cuz I have been there too! You made me cry with the little old lady wanting to trade places, tears again!! How times flys and she probably thinks it was just yesterday I had small children driving me nuts, how sweet :) God Bless.
    Shelley

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  63. I am 58 and a grandmother. You never forget the trauma of taking kids shopping. A week ago I was in line in front of a poor mama whose little boy was just shredding her. Trust me, if she'd come up before the cashier had already started on my groceries, I would have made her go ahead of me. She was so frazzled and the toddler would not stop his antics. I hope what I said to her was encouraging and made her realize, like your friend, that she had something mighty precious in her buggy (yes, in the south shopping carts are buggies!).

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  64. so funny! And I love that you call it going Krogering, same thing we called it in Mississippi growing up. I pray I'll only give the goodyougogirl looks to mamas in need

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