grow

My Least Favorite Place

ย (Wesley a long long time ago)

When Ben and I were just married I always dreaded going to the grocery store.
It was overwhelming for ย my newlywed brain.
I wasn’t exactly a seasoned chef, and I remember aimlessly roaming the isles waiting for recipe inspiration to strike down on me.
It never did.

Eventually I got a bit wiser and started bringing a list to the market–but I still didn’t look forward to the trips.
It was a chore, one more thing to do when I just wanted to be home snuggling my new husband.

Flash forward a handful of years later.
And I have a toddler–Lil W.
I didn’t know that it was possible for me to look forward to the grocery store any less, but it was.
I’m the Mom, who rather than wrestle and fight with my toddler through the entire shopping experience…
I simply agree to opening every item in our cart and letting him take a bite.
Chips, pop tarts, Lucky Charms, bananas—you name it.
In addition, I’m the Mom knocking over end caps and spilling piles of apples on the floor as I struggle to maneuver the giant cart with a green race car attached to it.
Whatever gets me through.

Flash forward another few years.
Now I have a newborn added to the mix.
No fun stories for you, because I have not yet been brave enough to go to the market with both boys.
But I can almost guarantee you that another baby in tow will not make the experience more enjoyable.

So here’s what I’m getting at.
Today was a tough day.
And to top things off, I put the boys to bed before I realized I had signed up to bring strawberries to Wesley’s class the next morning. Which meant a late-night trip to my second least favorite place in the world (Chuck E Cheeses being first).

So you can imagine my surprise,ย when after a long day like today, a trip to the grocery store ALONE at 10:30 at night turned out to be a welcomed retreat–enjoyable even. I was only going for strawberries but I stayed for nearly an hour. Mindlessly wandering the isles just like I did in my newlywed days. But this time it wasn’t because I was clueless. This time it was because I needed to NOT think. To just BE.

 

And here’s the thing that kinda surprised me…
Today wasn’t a tough day because my kiddos were being difficult or driving me crazy.
It was quite the opposite. Today Wesley was precious. Kind, thoughtful, and cuddly first thing in the morning.
We got ready, packed his lunch and I left to drop him off at school.

Even though he LOVES school, every morning he whines and sheds a few tears as I pass him off into his teachers arms.
But today, just as I was preparing to comfort him through the transition into the classroom, he did something that should have made me happy–perhaps even proud. But instead it broke my heart.

Wes: Go mommy. Go away.
And he nudged me out of the classroom door and ran into his sweet teachers arms.

I gave her a thumbs up and a smile, pretending I was so excited about his progress.
But as I walked back to my car, my heart was crying.

He was growing up.
And I had to let him.

While I have grand plans to always be the center of his Universe, I realize now that other role models will be entering his orbit. And I need to let that happen. Because as tough as it is for me, it’s what he needs. It’s what I have learned he responds to the most—learning from his environment, from his peers, from other adults.

And I need to remind myself that the signs of him growing up, simply mean that I’m doing my job–even if that breaks my heart.

 

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Melanie Platt
    August 24, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I am a silent stalker of your blog until now… this post has tugged at my heart strings. I have twin 3 year old little princesses. I am starting to realize that my desire to “Keep them babies forever” will not always be a good thing. Letting them grow up is the hardest thing I have ever done. We haven’t started school yet, we are going to do that next year…. but I truly dread it with all of my heart. But I can also say… that when I have been able to let go and they succeed at something, on their own, nothing has ever made me more proud… though at the time, like you, I am crying inside.

  • Reply
    LaVonne
    August 24, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I do the same thing at the grocery store, if I ever get to go alone (which isn’t too often). I miss the days I walked around every square inch of Target looking for all the clearance.

    Thanks for this post. It was a perfect one for me to read right before bed. My Princess (who is 4) is so BIG now, it goes by too fast. I want to slow down time.

    • Reply
      LaVonne
      August 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

      The contradiction or motherhood at its best ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kiera
    August 24, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I am the same exact way with grocery shopping! Never been a fan. Ever. But last week I had a rough day and my sweet husband offered to put the baby down for bed while I did the shopping. I have never enjoyed grocery shopping more and came home feeling rejuvenated!

    Even though my boy is only 5 months old, I think about this day you described and I am not looking forward to it one bit! I don’t think I will be able to pull it off as well as you …but I can hope.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    August 24, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I remember the day my son decided to get out of the car by himself to walk to the door of his preschool. It was sad for me, too! And now he is a rowdy tough 7 year old boy who ALWAYS gives me giant hugs and kisses before bed. I think I will sob the first day he doesn’t do this.

    Ashley, I just love your blog and what you say about being a mother. Somehow I keep coming back!!

  • Reply
    Tara
    August 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Aww sweetie this is so normal. I taught preschool for years and experienced this ‘mommy-moment’ many times. Let me tell you— from the other side, you are just hoping that sweet little babe will run joyously into the room excited to see you and ready for fun. Because otherwise, you are tearing a screaming, sad, crying child out of their safest place ASSURING their skeptical parent that it’ll all be ok.
    I know it’s hard, but if his teachers are anything like I wasโ€ฆ they love Wesley so much it hurts. They wonder how he is on the weekends and whether his parents (you sweet people) are having a hard day or a fun one. It’s hard to explain. But having been a nanny and teacher I can tell you, it’s a special kind of love that’s place is really unknown.
    I wrote a post about it:
    http://beautifulblendings.blogspot.com/2012/04/about-nanny.html

    Love you. It IS good. All good things come with a bit of hard emotion.

  • Reply
    Shauna
    August 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Funny – I looooove the grocery store. Always have. My mom would send me out to get the groceries some days when I was a teen. It’s always been that happy place for me to just not have to think about the rest of life. And when my husband and I started dating, going to the grocery store together was just as wonderful. I wish I could share my feelings towards the grocery store with everyone. :]

  • Reply
    Katie
    August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Beco Baby carrier…strap that little one on and go. I have a 4 year old son and a 1 year old son.

  • Reply
    aubrey
    August 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Yep. Like that poster said…welcome to motherhood. I can totally relate. :{
    When #2 came along she wad constantly strapped into a front carrier while I chased her big brother ( through the grocery store)

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I completely agree (Chuck E Cheese is my #1, too). Thankfully, we have a local store that allows me to order our groceries online, then you drive there and sit in a special parking spot and they deliver your stuff to the car, so the kids never need to get out of their car seats. I happily pay the $4.95 fee every week for my sanity.

    I know the feeling of when they push you away, and even though it stings it is so good to know they are growing up, which means we must be doing something right. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma
    August 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Get yourself a baby carrier for those grocery store trips when Sawyer is bigger. I found that manageable with two boys…

    Now, at 3 and 4, grocery story wine displays and glass jars seem to be easy targets for my two rugrats…

    Oddly, I wasn’t sad at all when Moose started school last year. As his mom, there’s only so much I can do to help him with his autism. I need school, as much as he does…

  • Reply
    Lizzy
    August 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    this cracked me up because i just got home from a quick trip to the grocery store with my 22-month-old. long story short, i ran out of the store after 10 minutes with a cart full of groceries and my body drenched in sweat!
    you’re doing a great job and are not alone!
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Natalie
    August 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Awe….that first time they stop crying when you drop off is so hard. I’m thankful now that she enjoys her daycare lady as it was so hard for all those times when she cried when I left.

    Good luck and glad you got some non thinking time.

  • Reply
    Melanna
    August 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I used to love grocery shopping. Then it became a pain when I had kids. So I too walk aimlessly without them. But I do have a system when I go with them (which is usually). Our bakery gives out free cookies. So we start on the opposite end of the store and basically get everything except bread and produce and I use it as incentive (bribery) for good behaviour. If they succeed they get a cookie. Our deli gives out sliced meat samples to the kids too if I need an extra things. My grocery store you bag your own, so my girls take turns pushing the button to move the groceries as I bag them. You know “helping.” And then at exit door is a full size dog shaped bank that collects money for the service dogs of the world. So they know that at the end of the trip we go and say goodbye to the dog and if they’ve been really good I’ll let them out of the cart to pet him. It takes forever. But if I’m alone, even for 2 items, I take the same amount of time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Pamela
    August 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Oh Ashley, this touches my heart. Wesley is so lucky to have you and he loves you and you love him..it’s a good reminder to me about what you said at the end, “And I need to remind myself that the signs of him growing up, simply mean that Iโ€™m doing my jobโ€“even if that breaks my heart.”
    That sums up my feelings on motherhood entirely!

    And I hate hate hated the grocery store before marriage and kids…still kinda do ,but it is definitely a treat when I can go by myself. I browsed the card aisle for the longest time the other week. Didn’t have any cards I needed to buy….just felt like it. Then I headed to the candy aisle ;D

    Thanks for sharing this post! Happy Friday!

  • Reply
    April Foss I Sew Lucky
    August 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    ahhh, the grocery store. My husband is a manager at ours here so I am there ALOT!! I HATE grocery shopping but, with 5 kids we are always needing to pick up something. I usually have a kid or more with me, but you are right, when I am by myself it is so nice. My favorite thing to do is be in the car. I just like to drive and space out. Did it yesterday and it felt sooooo good:) My youngest will be starting all day kindergarten in a couple of weeks and I have been shedding tears about it for 6 months now. I soooo don’t want him to go:/ But, I know that he needs to spread his wings.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    August 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    man, im not even a momma but that made me tear up for you. you sure do love your boys! it’s so sweet to read about.

  • Reply
    Courtney
    August 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Okay, my 3 year old starts preschool in a week and a half and I have tears rolling down my face from reading this. But, you are right, it is what he needs.

  • Reply
    Stacey
    August 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have an almost 4 year old little boy. He is getting ready to start his 2nd year of preschool. I totally understand how you feel. You want them to grow up but it’s hard too!
    And we are trying to get pregnant. And I can’t even imagine the grocery store with 2 in tow! Let alone Chuck e Cheese! Ha!
    By the way, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog!

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday browsing about pregnancy as I am pregnant now with #2 (already have a 4 year old). I too dread the grocery store, but know EXACTLY what you mean when going alone is like “me time.”

    Also, I had the exact same though yesterday when my son was disciplined in front of me at daycare. My first thought: “I hate when people discipline my son, and how dare she!” My rational thought: “He is going to school soon and he will be disciplined by others. He will be disciplined per say by his teachers, and bosses in the future.”

    Watching your babies “grow up” is hard to do, but you said it best. As a mom we are doing our job, raising our children.

    Thanks for the heart-warming blog, that makes me tear up from time to time. Spoken like a true Mom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Perfectly Imperfect Mom
    August 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    It’s incredible what us mothers go through. We want our babies to grow up and be happy and confident but a part of us will always miss the days when they needed us over any other person in the world. My son is only 13 months old but has become a Daddy’s boy recently and I love it but I sometimes miss the days of Mommy being the only person who could take away his tears. It makes life easier that Daddy can now be the one to calm and sooth him like no other but it is just a reminder of what is to come. Someday he will be grown up and married and a Daddy himself.

  • Reply
    Tahnie
    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    oh girl, i want to give you a big hug! i kind of made myself a little insane the other day when i realize sookie will only be 2 for 5 more months. (ha. i know. i’m silly.) it is such a catch 22; i’m so insanely grateful she is healthy and growing and blossoming, but i love love LOVE the toddler years and all the darling and hilarious things they say! i find myself wanting to record every single minute of her life.

    xoxo.

  • Reply
    Melissa Von Tersch
    August 25, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Ashley-

    First, beautiful post!!!!!!!

    Second, I share the same feelings as you about the grocery store! The exact same! I have a little girl and it is even worse trying to shop with her screaming her head off because she doesn’t want to sit in the cart.

    BUT…I have a solution! I am able to cook 5 meals a week for my hubby and my daughter and get this: they are pretty darn healthy! It is called: My Dinner Kitchen. If you do not have one in your area, just google: pre-made meals for pick-up. I swear on everything they are the easiest things to cook and are sooooooooooooo delicious. BETTER THAN ANY MEAL I WOULD SLAVE ALL DAY TO MAKE. Plus, it ends up saving you money. Think about all the money you spend on every tiny ingredient you need just to make one meal. It is so worth it.

    P.S. This has completely changed my life. No more stressing about dinner, no more hubby’s complaints that there is another sandwich for dinner, and no more brainstorming what to feed my 16 month old daughter that is not processed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope this helps!

    XOXO!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    August 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Well said Ashley! I also HATE the grocery store and while I’m there I hope that my inner Rachel Ray will come out…it never has.

    My daughter is two and I have just started to enjoy seeing her not wanting to leave her school. When I see her play at home I can tell she’s learned a lot!!

  • Reply
    Dani
    August 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    My children are now 13, 11, and 9 and I STILL love going to the grocery store all by MYSELF. I still remember that first trip alone…which didn’t happen for quite a long time because I had to work when my first was only 3 weeks old so I wanted every waking moment with her. But I also remember taking two to the store with me WOW that was an experience there is no longer room in the cart!!!!!! Money saver???? LOL

  • Reply
    misty
    August 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    i will be sure to read this in a few years, I know i will need the reminder.

    xoxo,

    Misty

  • Reply
    Olivia @ I am still learning
    August 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I have mastered grocery shopping with one (okay maybe not mastered, but I have learned how to navigate through it and keep my sanity. ) The idea of a 3 year old and newborn scares me though… our second child is due any day and this thought has entered my mind more than once. How will the grocery shopping happen or get accomplished? ha!

    And the end of this post totally made my Mommy heart ache for you… because I’m going to be right in your shoes probably within the next year ๐Ÿ™

  • Reply
    Jenn @ My Fabuless Life
    August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I only have one and I’m dreading that bittersweet day.

    I have to say that the grocery store thing made me laugh though. My husband always wonders why I run out for “one thing” and it takes me 45 minutes (the store is around the corner). I pull up to the store with no kids in tow and it feels like a VACATION! I am a big “wanderer.” ๐Ÿ˜€

    Funny sidenote BTW, I worked at Chuck E. Cheese in high school, also one of my most hated places on the planet. I was impressed even in high school that parents were brave enough to take their kids in there. My daughter’s three and we haven’t set foot in one to this day because I’m still not ready to deal with the chaos ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Rhiannon
    August 30, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I dread going to the grocery store..whether it’s with ALL four of my kids, or alone, I just can’t stand it!

    I’m right there with you on how difficult and bittersweet it is to see your baby growing up and not needing you like they once did. I can tell from reading your blog that you are such a wonderful, loving and caring mother with your children’s best interests always your top priority.

    Your blog is such a joy to read.

    Rhiannon

  • Reply
    Lis
    August 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Oh, how this tugs at my mother’s heart! My boy enters 3rd grade in a few days…breaking my heart!

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