When our children were really little, we didn’t have a car that I could keep running reliably enough to take the kids out shopping. Shopping night was a family affair. Because we weren’t always sure if the van would start again when we turned it off, John often drove around the store parking lot with all the kids while I zoomed through the store.
By the time we had a van I could drive, our oldest children were old enough to help bag groceries and help with the little ones when we went shopping. So my recent shopping trip with my oldest daughter and her two little girls gave me a whole new appreciation for mamas who are outnumbered by diaper-clad children when they shop.
Johanna and I have talked about me going grocery shopping with her, but we live two hours apart, and this is the first time we’ve managed it since her second daughter was born in November.
Our goal was to leave by at least 10 a.m. and we actually got to the store before then! That was after gathering diapers, juice, potty chair, garbage bags, extra clothes, diaper bag, stroller, camera, grocery lists, and Moby wrap while Victoria, who was ready for her morning nap, cried in her car seat, and Katie wandered around the house, sweetly saying, “Coat, Mama, coat, Mama, coat, Mama, coat, Mama,” after Johanna had put a nicely coordinating brown sweater on her. Victoria quit crying as soon as the car motor turned on, and was asleep by the time we reached the end of the driveway.
I marveled at Johanna’s endurance and cheerfulness as we loaded the cart with canned goods (with 2-year-old Katie’s help), measured out bulk goods, read labels, and compared prices. Little Katie was given the privilege of walking next to the cart, and demonstrated the fruit of her parents’ diligent training, obeying her mama and Nana even when distracted by the child’s-eye-level goodies in every aisle.
The accomplishment of shopping with little ones becomes especially impressive by the time you’ve unloaded the cart onto the belt, bagged the groceries, paid the bill, put the groceries back in the cart, found a fork (no spoons) for “hungwy” Katie’s promised yogurt, loaded the groceries into the car with a baby hanging off of you, put the toddler onto the potty chair, and started nursing the baby. I was assigned potty chair duty while helping Katie with her yogurt, while Johanna nursed Victoria and we fortified ourselves with almonds and cashews.
“This must get really interesting on a rainy day,” I mused, which inspired Johanna to tell me about one rainy shopping day, with Katie on the potty chair in the trunk of their smaller car while Victoria was wailing for her lunch.
Our shopping adventure made me think of Proverbs 31.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies…”
“She bringeth her food from afar…”
“She girdeth her loins with strength and strengtheneth her arms…”
“She perceiveth that her merchandise is good…”
“Strength and honor are her clothing…”
“In her tongue is the law of kindness…”
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness…”
Did you know that the word for “virtuous” woman is the same Hebrew word that is used for the mighty men of “valor?” It takes a “mighty woman of valor” to do a mother’s job! Don’t ever let anyone make you feel ashamed of being a stay-at-home mama!
Our shopping day also included a natural foods co-op (Katie was delighted to have her own little cart), where we bought groceries and far more lunch food than we needed or could comfortably eat. We took our loot to a park — the same park John and Johanna had escaped to when they exited the church after their wedding, the park where they enjoyed, according to Johanna, their first 200 kisses.
What a sweet early Mother’s Day outing with my daughter and her daughters! Almost four years after her wedding day, there we were enjoying the rare day of sunshine, the yummy food, her darling babies, the slide and swings, the tulips under the trees, the hilarious toddler conversation. And I thanked God for the privilege of being a mother, of being a Nana, of watching my little girl grow into a woman who joyfully embraces her calling, loving and serving her husband, her children, and her Lord. I love you, Johanna!