Shopping Alone

5 years ago

I have a confession.

I don't like being alone.

Well I do. I totally love being alone - and left alone. Nearly all of the time.

But, doing certain things alone is really nerve-wracking for me. Okay, really only one thing freaks me out.


Weird, huh? I know I'm always going on about how I can't get enough peace and quiet around here. And about how I wish I could just have a few hours alone. But that's when I'm here at home. Where I'm safe and secure and I've got things to do, like write to you.

I can drive alone. I can go to the library alone. I can work alone. I can go for walks alone. But shopping..... yeah. Just awkward.

And sadly, I really need to get used to doing it on my own. My oldest daughter used to go with me all the time. She was my Go-To grocery partner. But she's growing up and she's busy and she just doesn't want to spend as much time as she used to with her mother - particularly grocery shopping.

My son is sometimes a willing participant, but I find myself avoiding asking him to accompany me because I always get suckered into buying him something that, on the ride home, I question why in the world I just did it again! And while we're shopping, he continuously bugs me to get him this, get him that, so he's a major distraction as well. And in today's Super Markets that are as big as 5 football fields, missing something on the shopping list due to distracted shopping, makes for a very perturbed mother.

My third child is a girl. But not your atypical girl. She's more of a tom-boy (never understood that expression). She doesn't really enjoy getting cleaned up and going anywhere. If she's psyched about it one minute, she always turns ice-cold within the first aisle. It's like, in her mind, we are going shopping for soccer balls or something; but when mom puts cotton balls in the cart and then heads to the toilet paper aisle, it occurs to her, yet again, that shopping with mom is not her cup of tea.

Then, of course, there's my five-year-old. Now this child is you're all-around girly-girl. Up until she started Kindergarten, she actually believed her name ended with "Princess". She likes to do her hair and make up and nails. She likes to wear dresses and click-y shoes. And she loves to shop. But, and let me first preface this by telling you that I dearly love all of my children. And when Princess cries because she so badly wants to go with mom, it really, really breaks my heart. So much so that I have actually broken down and taken her shopping with me. Which I know is a major mistake. She doesn't want to ever sit in the cart. She prefers to walk. She likes to disappear around the ends of the aisles instead of staying within peripheral vision of her mother. She asks for things that are, in a little girls mind, so beautiful she simply must have it or she will have a crying fit. You know, those super cheap fake jewelry and tiara sets they have hanging from the shelves in the cereal aisle? Those things that break if you even just look at them. And of course she will need to visit the bathroom at least once. And I will literally gag if I explain the bathroom. Besides the fact that they always smell and are gross, gross, gross - I mean, can't they even try to make them pretty instead of that brain tissue gray color? Blech!

(Okay, that analogy was a little gruesome for me... how about... that gray paint they used in the old, old schools? Usually in the locker rooms. I think that thick, rubberized gray paint actually came with it's own salty urine smell. Maybe that's why I hate it so much.)

So this is why I'm left to do the grocery shopping alone. Or really any kind of shopping.

I think it's because I've been a mom for so long now that it just feels weird to go to a store alone. You know when you're backing out of your driveway heading somewhere and you get that feeling. "What am I forgetting?" That's kind of what it's like. And I can sit here right now and tell you with all honesty that I know people don't pay me any attention at all when I'm in a store. But when I'm in a store - all by myself - I feel like they're are looking at me. And I don't have any kids there to steal their attention away or distract me from this weird line of thought. And weirder still, is when I run into someone I know - and we start talking. Really, I could talk all day. And without a child there with me as an excuse to get going, or as a topic of conversation, it just gets awkward, fast. I feel my face turn red, the sweat prickling my scalp. I don't know why I react this way. I could talk a mean streak at work (but I don't) and not blink an eye.

I know it won't be long before all my kids are grown and doing things completely on their own. And thank goodness that when that time comes, I will be shopping a lot less. But even for those quick trips to the grocery store for those few items that I may eventually need, I'm going to have to start practicing doing it - All. By. Myself.

Just a little freaked out, but I think I can. I think I can.

Okay! So who wants to go with mom?


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