Yesterday I faced one of my parenting fears: going big grocery shopping with all four kids. Not only was it big grocery shopping, it was Thanksgiving grocery shopping. The biggest of big. We literally needed something from every aisle.
I’ve been to the store with all four before, but it was only ever to pick up gifts or a couple of items. I don’t mind doing a quick errand like that because the kids like the store and are generally well behaved. The Twins have never spent a really long time in a store before and my list was huge. On top of the time factor, I knew that we wouldn’t be able to fit the twins and all of the groceries in one buggy. Yes, they make those carts with extra seats but they are hard to come by and have zero steering. Anytime I use them I just get exasperated and wish I hadn’t.
In light of all this, I made the decision to share my workload with the big kids and show them that I trusted them. The Boy pushed a cart with The Hun and The Conqueror in it. He had specific instructions to stay close and they were told to sit down and behave. Crazy Eyes was on list duty, no small feat with my handwriting. I’d organized the list before we left, grouping them by the section where they could be found. (That part sounds like a lot but it’s a few minutes of work to help us stay on track and was 100% worth it.) I also made sure everyone ate before we went, myself included.
I was worried that The Boy would go rogue with The Twins in tow. Afraid that we’d see a meltdown or brawl from the buggy bound Hun and Conqueror. Concerned that Crazy Eyes wouldn’t be much help and that I’d be using the list myself and therefore not be able to pay as close attention to my four little ducklings in tow. All that plus the constant Mom fear that someone will take her children in the store had me tense and on edge.
It turns out though, that I had nothing to fear. The Twins held it together. The Boy stayed by my side and listened perfectly to all instructions and only hit me with the buggy a couple of times. Crazy Eyes was on that list like a champ, even offering to add unplanned items to the list so we could cross them off. We moved from aisle to aisle like a professionally trained caravan. I gave directional instructions and led the pack while Crazy Eyes let us know what was next and The Boy brought up the rear. The Twins smiled and waved at other patrons which helped ease other shoppers grumpiness and taking up half of the aisle everywhere we went.
When we got to the checkout line I took a moment to snap a quick picture of the kids together. They’d had so much fun and didn’t once ask if it was time to go or complain about it being too hard. We swapped the Twins from the empty buggy to the former grocery filled buggy as the kind girl at checkout scanned our items. The kids and I all thanked her and we went on our way. The Big Kids loaded The Twins into their car seats while I unloaded the groceries.
To people without kids and maybe even to people with kids, all of this may sound silly and unimportant. It was a huge step for all of us though. We’d worked together as a team to get our goal accomplished without argument, drama, or injury. We were all proud of what we’d accomplished when we left and none more proud than me.
It’s such an incredible blessing to be a part of raising these kids. I never thought a grocery shopping trip with my four kids would make my heart explode with love and pride.