“I’ll pick you guys up at 5:30, we’ll go get your brother, and then we’ll have a “supermarket party.” (Everything’s more fun when you call it a “party,” including sock matching and vacuuming.)
“Don’t we have anything tonight?” my middle son asked.
“Nope! All we need to do is get to the store. The cupboard is pretty bare…” I had been making trips to the convenient (and more expensive) supermarket that was just around the corner from our house since the last time we did a big shopping.
We had finished boy scouts for the year and the spring baseball season had just ended meaning we had a week off from sports before summer baseball started (except for the following night when I learned that we’d need to go to the football field to pick up our equipment for practices that would be starting sometime in August – I do not know when, since I do not appear to be on that distribution list, otherwise I wouldn’t have had to find out about the equipment pick up second-hand).
I had made it through kindergarten orientation and meet-your-teacher day and chaperoning a field trip for my youngest and a busload of other preschoolers. We were maybe half-way through my school-aged sons’ field trips, special projects, field days, and end-of-year concerts. I still had to figure out teacher gifts and plan and execute the two June birthday parties, never mind all the end-of-quarter activities that happen in the corporate world. But soon, life would become blessedly simple. All we would have is summer camp (which includes lunch, meaning I don’t have to plan it and make it) and baseball. My youngest will be joining his brothers at the camp they have attended for the past four years, thus I won’t have to drive two towns away in the opposite direction to bring him to his inconvenient-but-affordable daycare.
Because we “didn’t have anything that night,” we had a real shopping expedition with a list and lessons in price comparison and a plan (“you get the milk and yogurt,” “you choose the bakery items,” “you get the cereal,” “I’ll be at the deli”). I remembered things like ketchup and dish soap and napkins. We had a real sit-down dinner at the dining room table (there was not so much unfinished laundry on it that I couldn’t move it all over to one side), not dinner-to-go out of the cooler in the car or “breakfast night” at home. So what that it was chicken tenders and smiley fries and watermelon for the kids and a frozen “gourmet” entrée for me. It was hot food that came out of our oven, which means it’s homemade, as one of my colleagues, a mom of two preschoolers, has validated on a few occasions.
And even though I had already worked a full day, I put in time during the third shift because the following day, I had eight meetings in my calendar. True, two of them were “breakfast date with my youngest” (at McDonald’s) and “middle son’s history presentation” (at the elementary school), but I had to plan ahead because none of the meetings would afford me the opportunity to multi-task, thus the only way to get anything ticked off my to-do list was working that third shift.