Wednesday is my day off from caring for my son. It is the day that my husband works from home which enables me to do the shopping in the morning and go to work in the afternoon. Not so much of a day off then but it’s still a chance to escape the four walls of the house.
Anyway this particular Wednesday started off like any ordinary Wednesday in our household. After dropping my daughter at school, I drive to the local supermarket where I make the usual hash of parking before looking for a functional trolley.
Then, armed with my shopping list, I do the usual route up and down the aisles loading my trolley until it’s almost overflowing.
And then its checkout time!
Usually I have an uncanny habit of ceasing up the conveyor due to the weight of produce much to the annoyance of the checkout assistant. You can tell they get irritated with my massive shop because they always whinge how the conveyor is not meant for heavy products.
I’m too busy to argue but really what are conveyors meant for if I can’t put a box of UHT milk cartons on them?
On this occasion, however, everything is flowing far too rapidly to the end of the conveyor, such is the speed of the check out assistant. I struggle to keep up and wished the conveyor would die on us, as it has done many times before, but alas it doesn’t. Then, if I wasn’t busy enough packing my goods, the check out lady wants to chat. Now I don’t mind a bit of a chat but an in-depth conversation as to the feeding habits of teenage boys is just not something I can manage when I have over 30 items to pack.
Somehow, I get to the end and pay up, gulp at the size of the bill and begin the next stage of my shopping trip – getting to the car, not an easy feat with a wobbly trolley laden with food.
Why is it that every trolley I choose never does what I want it to do? It never moves in a straight line and always veers to the side and I have to hold the trolley by the side to steer it. No-one else seems to have this problem and I always wonder if it’s simply due to the amount of stuff I buy or because of my poor muscle tone. Still I manage to get to the rear of my car without crashing into anyone or anything and am about to open a packet of newly-bought biscuits when an elderly woman appears at my side.
A small and smartly dressed lady, she looks at my trolley and says, “Its so nice to see a good shop like that.”
I look towards my trolley, feeling ever so slightly embarrassed at the amount of food, “It’s bad isn’t it but I have a family of five to feed,” I reply.
She says “I’ve only bought some lamb and potatoes. That’s all I need.”
I nod, noticing her shabby woven bag.
She continues, “It’s good to have others around you. I don’t have anyone. Be happy with your life.”
“I will” I reply and as she walks away from the car I can’t help but watch her go and wonder about her. Is she on her own out of choice or widowed? Does she have any children? If she does, does she still see them, do they still visit? Does she have any friends or relatives that she could share a meal with?
It made me think about what my life will be like in forty years time. Will I be on my own, will my children still bother with me, will I still have my husband by my side? Will I have anyone to care for me, to visit me or to share a meal with? Indeed will anyone be bothered about me when I’m old.
What started as a very ordinary shopping trip became something quite reflective as I thought about loneliness and how we should all become more involved in the lives of our elderly people.
But above all the elderly lady made me appreciate what I have now. For all my difficulties with my children and the challenges getting the support they need, there is something that we have in my family – love, support and commitment. And, as this woman reminded me, these are the ingredients for a fulfilled life, not status or wealth but love of which I have buckets of in my family.
This post is day 2 of the nablopomo challenge.