I called Christopher, 25, to see if he wanted to come grocery shopping.
This is a great way to spend time with your sort-of adult children. We talk, we laugh, they lift, I pay.
As they all move out, my grocery bill has tumbled and I’m doing what my mom used to do — taking a little of the pressure off young budgets. They jump at the chance and I pretend it’s because they want to spend time with me, though we both know it’s because they want to get the good cheese.
Christer came with a list that Pammy had given him, because letting a man/boy wander around a grocery store when he’s hungry is a good way to ring up many, many things that do not remotely signal meal planning or nutrition. I giggled when I saw she’d written “romance lettuce,” and will now never call it anything else.
“She just wrote yogurt. What kind?” I asked Christopher.
He shrugged. I called her.
“Does Pammy still like this kind of soup?” I asked him 10 minutes later.
He shrugged. I sighed.
“Oh! I know what I want. Pickles.” he said. “But just normal pickles.”
He was peering at an entire section devoted to everything but normal pickles.
Zesty, garlic, baby, dill, sweet, this brand, that brand, he stared at them all.
“These are on sale,” I said, which made them the right kind.
He put them in the cart.
I glanced at the list and saw that Pammy had listed four dates with X’s beside them.
“She’ll be working so I have to fend for myself,” explained Christopher.
He tossed some chicken pot pies into the cart.
“Wait, they have better ones on sale,” I told him. “Put those back, and we’ll get one of the big ones instead.”
His eyes widened when I showed it to him.
“This is perfect for when she’s gone,” he said.
“That is big enough for a family of four. You can’t eat all that,” I told him.
“Well, I’ll just have it for lunch and dinner one day,” he reasoned.
The list had no snacks on it, something that my son managed to correct in nearly every aisle. Both my boys know I like to spoil their girlfriends, because neither girl ever asks for anything and both are always grateful if I remember their favourite things.
Ari and Christopher have both mastered getting what they want into the cart by telling me Pammy or Taryn wants it.
As we unloaded at the checkout, Christer held up a bottle of bathroom cleaner.
“Oh, and this whole grocery thing? Do you wanna know what’s really crazy?” he asked me.
“How much you have to spend on things that aren’t even food. It’s nuts,” he said, shaking his head sadly.
I had a flashback to his brother, Ari, explaining that he didn’t have to clean the shower, because it was getting hit with soap and water all the time, so it was essentially self-cleaning. I’m not sure if I’d told Taryn this story, but she’ll find out soon enough. They move out next week.
“No kidding,” I said to Christopher.
“All those things you used to laugh at me for stocking up on when they went on sale. See?” I added in my older and wiser voice.
“Toilet paper!” he continued. “Do you know what a ripoff toilet paper is? It’s like wiping your butt with money.”
The woman at the checkout chose now to look up. I pretended I hadn’t heard him.
I glanced at the chocolate Easter eggs he was putting on the conveyor belt.
“What? They’re Pam’s favourite!” he said.