Monday, October 1, 2007

Supermarket Inspiration

Before I begin my daily dose of "This is my Life" I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that October, which begins today, is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Domestic Violence Awareness month. Both of these causes are near and dear to my heart and I do my best to actively work to eradicate these "epidemics" as well as to help those who are touched by them. I encourage each of you to find out more about any cause that you deem worthy and work towards eliminating it and helping those that suffer because of it.

Sundays are fairly typical for me. I get up, sometimes I'll even get to sleep in, shower, dress and head out to church- alone. Pat has the kids on Sunday mornings because a) I won't bring my children to church with me, just yet and b) Pat is not a big churchgoer, although he has gotten better since we've been together and each time he goes he says he feels more of a connection. Church, for me, is time alone and a chance to pray and really be with God. I pray during the week, just before I fall asleep usually, but the hour that I spend in mass each weekend is precious to me and it really helps me to round out my previous week and get ready for my next week. After church I, more often than not, go to Shop Rite to shop for the week or at least part of the week. I LOATHE going to Shop Rite after church because everyone goes to Shop Rite after church. Ironically enough, these people who I just sat with in church are no longer the same God-fearing, kind hearted, hymn singing, sign of peace sharing individuals. They are slow moving, aisle blocking, cart bumping, dirty look giving, sales stealing shoppers who are only there for the same reason I am, because they are out, the food needs to be bought and Sunday seems like the best day to do it!

So, I do my Shop Rite shuffle. It was not a BIG shopping trip, thank goodness! I was there to get stuff for Nicholas' lunch this week and garbage bags, somehow I did manage to spend $130- clearly I bought more than lunch meat and garbage bags! At our Shop Rite you have to "pay" for your cart. You put a quarter in and the cart is released to you. Once you're done you reattach your cart to another and you get your quarter back. I have to be completely honest and say that on more than one occasion I have said, "Screw it" and left my cart and my quarter in the middle of the parking lot. I've done this for a number of reasons, mainly it's because it's a real pain the butt to lug two kids from your car to the "cart catch" and then back again and I don't like to leave my kids in the car and walk away. So, yes, you pay for a cart...this was new to me when we first moved out here and even now when I shop around my parents- where apparently Shop Rite customers are trusted and they don't have to pay- I take out my quarter to get a cart. People, especially my mother, usually look at me funny.

I left the store and was loading up the car, just about finished and completely frustrated, when I noticed an SUV trying to pull into the spot next to me. Now, I understood her issue. Even though there is plenty of room to pull in, you are afraid that your car is going to make a sudden jump and slam right into the person who is no where near where you are pulling your car into thereby pinning the Sunday morning shopper in between their vehicle and yours. This does not end up happening to me. The woman in the SUV, though, does roll down her window and asks if I wouldn't mind leaving my cart right there and she then offers me a quarter. At first glance, she is tired- sorry, but it's painfully obvious! She's in a sweatshirt, her hair is back in a messy ponytail and her smile is "half-assed" for clearly good reason. I refuse her quarter and let her know that the cart is all hers. I leave the cart in between our two cars and as I'm climbing into my beast of a minivan- I'm convinced she's indestructible now after my run in with Lead Foot Lucy- the woman still has her window down and says to me, "Sometimes it's just so hard with a baby." I looked at her and said, "I know exactly what you mean" smiled and drove off. I could not get her out of my head for a lot of the day. She reminded me a lot of myself and how I feel often.

When Nicholas was born, we were very lucky, we were living with my parents so for the first 4 months of his life it was 4 adults versus 1 infant- it worked great. Living with my parents was so helpful in so many ways. I feel like I was a much calmer first time mom than most are because of the situation and partially because of who I am by nature. Once we moved out and into our house, 45 minutes away from my parents, things were a little bit more hairy because Pat and I were on our own in the boonies with a 4 month old. It became harder but it was still doable. Really, we were chugging right along until Addison came along. Addison threw us for a loop! We were doing GREAT with one kid, two put us- or at least me- over the edge! For the first few weeks I could not leave the house, between physical and emotional recovery, dealing with a preemie and a two year old who didn't want a little sister, and the lack of a stroller that could handle both kids, I didn't even want to think about getting the mail let alone going to a store! Things got worse before they got better. I never wanted to leave the couch or my bed, but I did. I saw no need to shower, but I did. I really did not want people to see how I was really doing and a lot of the time I did not feel like, short of my mom, there were many people who understood. Finally, my OB/GYN offered my an anti-depressant and I accepted it because I knew something was wrong. The drugs didn't work for me so I found a therapist and got myself talking. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and I started on my road to recovery. Things have gotten better but I still have those days. Sometimes, I feel like I have those weeks. Sometimes, it is just too much to do anything with two kids or even one!

I was that woman in the shop rite parking lot, and I still am. I understand how she feels and I only spoke a few short words with her. That brief interaction has helped me to get my butt moving again. When we joined our current parish I had the intention of starting a moms' group for any mom in our area who needed someone to talk with or just to listen. With the beginning of school and a whole slew of other personal things I never really took the idea off the ground. My Shop Rite encounter shows me that it's needed. My own personal feelings and needs to talk with other moms in similar and different situations in my area shows me that it's needed. My Sunday morning was everything that it always is with a little bit of supermarket inspiration thrown in.


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