Adventures in Parenting, Family Life

Insert Coffee Here

I have another grocery shopping story for you. This should really just be a series because my most ridiculous parenting moments are somehow always at a grocery store. Maybe I just spend way too much time gathering food for our family, either way, here‘s my previous post if you’d like to read it.

I used to be in a pretty good rhythm about going to the store with the kids, but lately, with all the chaos in our family and lack of routine, I’ve been either going at night after the kids go to bed or ordering online for delivery or pick up. This particular time I convinced myself we can do this. We can go to the grocery store. I completely psyched/caffeinated myself up, used my most patient, pleading voice with the girls preparing them for our trip, and had our list and coupons ready. We were golden.

Side note: when I was in my 20’s (before marriage and kids, and before grocery delivery and pick up) I despised shopping during the day because the parking lot would be full of minivans and mothers with uncontrollable kids every where. Little did I know that I’d one day be one of those mothers. I wish I understood then that getting there may have been all they could do that day. It may have taken every fiber of their being to just make it to the store. I should have extended grace to them, or considered it my ministry to give an extra hand to overwhelmed mothers at the grocery store.

Back to the story I thought I’d never be writing…

Everything was going so great! (famous last words). I had the baby in the cart which is always a delight because he’s just the king of our family and knows it through and through. The girls listened really well, stayed close by and only threw in a couple extra things into the cart that we didn’t have on our list when I wasn’t looking, and it was produce so who could argue?

I had a completely full cart when Faith’s foot started to hurt. Lovely. So in the cart she goes, on top of all of the groceries.

I have to insert here that when we go to the grocery store, I don’t know if its the fact that I have twins, an adorable smiley baby waving to everyone or the sheer pity that I’m shopping with 3 young children, we attract a lot of stares and comments. It’s probably a combination of all of those things, but I just accept it and move on with purpose, racing to get through the check out line before someone loses it.

The rest of the trip went well, June went into super helper mode since Faith was immobile and Charles was still happy as could be. After we checked out, the girls asked to see the rooster. At Wegmans, there is a rooster that comes out of a barn every hour, on the hour, and the girls look forward to it every time. Whenever I tell anyone without kids about the rooster they look at me like I’m crazy, or they’re wondering how they could have possibly missed a barn and a rooster. It’s not a real rooster, just something I’m sure they added to the store to simultaneously help and hurt parents, especially those with children who can’t tell time.

Waiting for the rooster on another grocery trip in which I decided to attract even more attention to the ridiculous chaos by adding a gigantic balloon. I’ve clearly lost my mind.

I looked at the clock and we had 3 minutes, sweet, perfect timing. So I parked us in front of the barn to wait for the rooster, which is conveniently in front of the coffee shop. I felt as though I needed a reward for this excursion, or at least a pick me up to make up for all of the energy that this trip just drained out of me. So I grabbed a cup while we waited.

What was I thinking? How was I going to carry a cup of coffee, push and unload a heavy cart full of groceries under 4 year old Faith, effectively steer 4 year old June walking (you know if you have anyone under the age of 5 that “steer” is an appropriate and very useful verb here), and handle a baby who is obsessed with grabbing every cup in sight? This is not going where you think its going. You think I’m going to spill the coffee don’t you?

You’d think wrong.

We’re chugging (pun intended) along through the busy entrance, I’m successfully avoiding all the baby swats for my hot coffee cup when JUNE decides she can’t walk. What.

Her foot hurts from when she dropped a cup on it 15 years ago and you know, the pain comes back whenever it’s convenient for her, and I must give her sympathy because we’ve had a long drawn out foot saga for her sister and we can’t leave June out.

So what do I do? I beg and plead with her more than I’ve ever begged in my life, short of getting on my knees in the entrance of Wegmans, because that would have certainly looked weird, right? So I do something that DOESN’T look weird, I offer her a piggy back. I’m rolling my eyes right now at the sight of this- this had hot mess momma written all over it. How did I think we’d make it to the car in this state, all while CARRYING A CUP OF COFFEE???!!! Who did I think I was? A celebrity? Carrying a cup of coffee like its an accessory? Like I have an extra hand? I wish I had a picture of this to show you, I’m sure someone does because it was that much of a spectacle.

Thankfully someone had pity on me and offered to push the cart of 2 children plus groceries, while I carried my 4 year old and cup of coffee- not spilling a drop.

I haven’t taken them to the grocery store since….

 

 

Random Thoughts

Twins: When does it get easier?

A few weeks ago, I was shopping ALL BY MYSELF (thank you in laws!) when I saw a mom pushing a double stroller with two infant car seats, a backpack diaper bag and Starbucks in hand and my mind flooded with memories.

I wanted to run to her and say “I have twins too! They’re almost 4! I used to have the same stroller!” And she’d probably meet my eyes with a nice smile and say “great, have a good day.” OR, oooooorrrrrrrrrr she could have responded with the same level excitement and we’d talk back and forth with the usual questions between moms of twins and 5 minutes later we’d know everything about each other and become best friends. Honestly, the latter is more likely because that’s just how twin moms roll. And even moms with 30 year old twins approach me with that level of excitement.  It’s this amazing, community where we’re the only ones who get each other, and I thank God for the moms I met when the girls were babies and are still amazing, encouraging friends today.

Faith & June at about 4 months

I never caught up with the stranger, it would have required me running across the parking lot and that would have been just weird, so we’ll never know the outcome of that conversation; but I imagine that somewhere along the line she’d ask me when does it get easier? I’d have to respond honestly, through bags under my eyes, “I’m still wondering the same thing almost 4 years later.” Granted, my sleep deprivation is not from the twins, but from my super busy, teething 9 month old, nevertheless, the twins exhaust me more than anything I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think anything has gotten easier, things just change along the way.

Instead of worrying about whether or not to wake up the other twin when one wakes up in the middle of the night, I’m just trying to get them to stop jumping around like monkeys and go to sleep (isn’t it always about sleep? Someone please tell me when it stops being all about sleep) after a long day of  talking over each other asking “why” EVERY SINGLE MOMENT ABOUT EVERY SINGLE THING ALL DAY LONG.

Instead of two crying, cranky babies, I’m breaking up yet another argument between them and patching hurt feelings.

Instead of managing two babies into EVERYTHING and saying “no” 4738920789542 times a day, I’m managing different learning styles and teaching two completely opposite kids the same thing at the same time. I’m constantly amazed how God designed these girls with the same DNA to be so different in so many ways.

At the end of a long day recently, my husband and I finally got them into bed, crying (them and me), but they were laying down and looking like they’d soon be sleeping. We looked at each other exhausted and I said “How do we do this? What are we doing wrong?” He responded, “nothing, they’re twins, it’s always going to be harder than anything else.”

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I told you guys I just love the book of James…

During that conversation with my husband, we started talking about how having kids has changed us, for better and worse, but it got me thinking about why God gave us twins; why did He think WE are capable of raising them? We often wonder that after having really rough days, but I find comfort in that He has an amazing plan for us and our family. There is nothing easy about raising children, twins or not, I’ve learned that in the past 4 years. But something I’m learning now is that God is using those hard days, those trials, to shape us as parents, individuals, and children of God. Leaning on Him and persevering through trials is imperative if we want to “receive the crown of life”.

So I don’t know when it gets easier, all I know is that every older parent I’ve ever met says it goes by so fast. And now the second time around with our little Charles, I’m seeing that and not taking it for granted. I’m trying to embrace every stage, every question, and every challenge because one day we’ll miss this. And I’m finally realizing that I need to celebrate (yes, celebrate) all the challenges motherhood brings me because it’s really shaping and maturing me for His use.