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Love is groceries

I remember Mom saying this when I was a child and I never understood what she meant.

We always had enough, we might not have had what we wanted but we had enough.

She reminded us of that. And often.

Oh we knew how good we had it what with a huge garden, fruit trees, fresh beef, chicken, turkeys and pigs. We had no doubts where our food came from; we’d been introduced.

We felt such empathy for those poor town kids who didn’t have land and kitties and baby calves and foals in springtime. We thought everyone’s Mother baked bread from scratch and made things like butterhorns and crumb cake to welcome them home from school.

I remember asking Mom what she meant by the words “Love is Groceries” and all she’d ever say was “you’ll see.”

And then I did.

I married and had a son at 22.

And at 26, I was a single parent, far from home with no child support, just a job and a car that ran .. most of the time.

I got it. I finally understood.

Packing lunches, stretching meals, making it work.

Going without but getting it done.

He had supper; I had … popcorn.  Any mother worth her salt would do the same .. then and now.

I understood what she meant was this:  flowers  and gestures are great, but food on the table gets it done.

I remembered the look in her eyes when Dad came from town with a few extras… just because.  Special treats like juicy Florida oranges or Ruby Red grapefruits that we’d peel and make last for hours on end.  Sometimes there might even be a package of “Dad’s” oatmeal cookies tucked in. Not a surprise, given the sweet tooth he had. And being spoilt rotten farm kids, we were used to home-made.  We longed for store-bought. Dad’s cookies were a rare treat.  (Oh how foolish we were).

Dad's cookies; so simple .. so yummy

Talking with my oldest boy recently, he  calmly commented how hard he was working to save money. He was proud to pack his lunch and use the Stanley thermos I’d bought him at Christmas.  But it was when he said, “and when we can afford food, it’ll be a lot easier,” that I stopped in my tracks.

As a mother, that haunted me.

I don’t care how old you are – or how old they are – any mother worth her salt will lose sleep over the thought that her kid – or grandkids – might be going without.

Today, I packed my lunch again, just like I’d done years ago.  I used my lunch time hour to buy larder supplies like rice, pasta, soup, pudding, peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit cups. I stopped again and bought beef and chicken, milk, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions. I topped it off with bananas, apples, oranges, bread and fun snacks for the kids’ lunchboxes.

I called him and asked, “What time do you and the kids get home?”

And then I made it a point to deliver love … with groceries thrown in for good measure.

Once a parent .. always a parent.”  – My Mom.

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Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Love is groceries

  1. I can imagine the heartbreak you felt when your son spoke those words. I used to wonder, at what age will I stop worrying about my kids? It didn’t take me long to realize that the answer was “never.”

    You gave your son and his family a wonderful gift.

    • I looked into his beautiful (proud) green eyes tonight and said this: “As a parent, a good parent, you never stop worrying about your kids; when you hurt .. I hurt.”

      He accepted the gift with grace and I accepted their little arms and sweet kisses with all the delight a Nana can hold.
      MJ

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes.
    We took our 21 year old daughter to the grocery store today.
    My husband brought two bags of groceries to me on our first date (I was 23).
    And all our 91 year old friend who has outlived her money ever worries about are goceries.
    I never thought about it before I read this post, but love is groceries.

    • My Mom was right: “Love is groceries.”

      Bless you for helping your daughter and looking out for your friend.

      This was a hard post to write; I felt conflicted telling the story because I don’t want to betray him. But all I could think of while driving home was my little Mom’s wee voice, “Love is groceries.”
      – MJ

  3. This post is very touchy!
    I have two sons, and all my mind goes around them…The happiest time in the day is to meet them at home and that they are safe and healthy…I love to observe them when they eat the meal I cook…Happiness of a mom is very simple, isnt it?

    • Yes, to know that your children are safe and healthy – that fills a mother’s heart, no matter where in the world we are.

      Thank you for visiting, please come back again, MJ

  4. This is so touching MJ. I’m sitting here with tears filling my eyes and imagining what it would be like to think your child or grandchild might not have enough food to be comfortable, or to have to choose whether to pay the mortgage, the medical bills, or fill the pantry. You’re a doll and such a sweet mother. Another reason I’m glad we have met – even if it is just over blogs.

    • It is not a good feeling, to say the least, but thankfully we can do something about it. I didn’t even tell Hubbs, I just told him when I was on my way. I knew he’d understand and he did.
      My boys are my world, without a doubt, and they know that this mother would walk through fire for them .. and has!

      I’m glad we met, too, Renee. You’re a peach!!
      MJ

  5. Oooohhhh, tears in my eyes too. This post touched my heart in SO many ways.
    Although I grew up with store-bought loaf bread, I remember an older friend of mine saying that it was a treat for them on Fridays to have sliced bread: the rest of the week, it was homemade bread or biscuits.
    What a sweet, sweet thing to take groceries to your son and his family. But a perfectly understandable gesture for a Mom.
    LOVE, indeed!

    • I had tears in my eyes writing it 🙂

      Looking back, I thought those perfectly sliced “boughten” breads were the neatest thing. What I would give to have some of my mother’s unevenly sliced home-made bread (and jam) to toast now!

      Love is groceries 🙂 MJ

  6. This is so beautifully written. Our daughter went through hard times these past few months and how I wish I could have been close enough to make a delivery such as yours. Christmas giving was sensible this year including essentials that were much appreciated. You haven’t betrayed anything or anyone. You have as you always do, kept things in perspective. I love your balance. I will count this among my favorite posts of yours. Thank you for writing it. Yes, my mother says, “Parenting never stops.”

    • Thank you, Georgette.

      It is so, so hard when our loves go through trying times. I know it makes them stronger, but as a Mother, I just want to shield them from life’s hurts.

      Thank you for your comments and compliments; I really do appreciate it,
      MJ

  7. I was raised a city gal but my Dad worked in a factory and my Mom took on parttime evening jobs to make it work. We always had food on the table but there were a lot of casseroles made with ground beef, condensed soup and noodles. We thought it was great. For Christmas we gave my bachelor son (w a minimum wage job) some fun foodstuffs he couldn’t or wouldn’t find where he lives like Korean soup base and udon and specialty hot sauce. Sent him home with a huge wedge of lasagna as well. Loved your post.

    • Yep – we had lots of casseroles, too and we thought they were just fine.

      Your gift for your son was fun AND useful = perfection!

      And who can resist a huge wedge of leftover lasagna? Not I!
      MJ

  8. This post hit me hard, MJ. As a kid growing up in the Northeast, I can remember times when the most we had to eat was a pot of oatmeal cooked on a wood burning stove in the kitchen (which doubled as our only source of heat). I and my three sisters, mother and father, slept in the living room with thick blankets over the doorways. I also know what it’s like to be homeless. I’ve recently posted about some of the difficulties that my family has gone through in 2011 and the blessings that God bestowed upon us during those times. My mother-in-law and some friends from my wife’s work brought groceries to help out. Until now, I was just grateful for their faithfulness. Now I’m reminded just how much they really meant to me and mine. Bless you for this post and your groceries :D.

    • Thank you, Guy, for your heartfelt comments. I’m touched that this stirred something in you as well. For whatever reason, I don’t mind when it’s me that goes through the rough waters; I think as parents, most of us want better/more for our children.

      Thank you for the blessings; always welcomed.

      MJ

  9. cooper

    that’s the one thing we always did when visiting the kids at college…take them food shopping and/or out for a decent meal.

    • absolutely = food feeds more than the tummy, it feeds the soul.

      My boy called tonight to give me the update on what he cooked for himself and the wee ones; I smiled the whole time just listening to him. The joy in his voice was palpable.

      MJ

  10. What a wonderful post! I love that you did this. I love your sharing it with us. Love is, indeed, groceries. And your blog is love, as well!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  11. What a nice mom you are! You tell your story so well, too. We are driving our son back to college later this afternoon, and we will be taking him and his roommate out to dinner, with a trip to the grocery store afterward. I never heard the saying “love is groceries” before, but it’s really true. Thanks for your insight.

    • It’s one I heard all the time growing up and never “got it” till much later. I get it now .. and so do you.

      Cheers! MJ

  12. Like all your other readers, my eyes are filled. A beautiful relationship, a beautiful way to show your love and to give your son his pride. Thanks for letting me be proud of you both.

    • Thank you, Elyse, for understanding.

      I adore them both, but he has a unique place in my heart because for so long, it was just the 2 of us. Then Hubbs came along and made our world better and later, we were all given the gift of son # 2.

      I cannot relate to another mother who doesn’t feel this .. and unfortunately I know a few who do. Unfathomable!

      MJ

  13. Beautiful Post..When I was single and living on my own…I would visit my parents on weekends and when it was time to head back to school my Dad would always walk me to my car on the pretense of checking my tires or oil…he would then reach into his pocket and give me what ever money he had…sometimes it was $20 most times it was less…but it always brought tears to me eyes. Thanks for jogging my memory!

    • wonderful Dads do that, don’t they?

      When my oldest was born, I was living in CO with my (then) husband. My Mom & Dad came to visit; when they left, it was the first time I’d ever seen my Dad cry. He just couldn’t bear to leave us and he told me so. I’ve never forgotten that moment.

      Good parents do as you describe …we give what we can when we can … and I cannot imagine another way.

      Loved the story, thank you for sharing it. MJ

  14. You’re a great mom and sounds like you had a very wise one too! Great post!

  15. Your grocery delivery brought tears to my eyes. I have done the same. And you’re right … we get it done. No matter what. I have gladly eaten my share of popcorn suppers so that my kids could have better, and now that they are grown, I know they realized I was serving love on every plate. Beautiful post.

  16. Lots of power here! I grew up with a mom who lived (and therefore taught us) believeing we never had enough. That we were “poor” (such a joke!!) I love this, and hope that I have instilled a very different perspective into my kiddos! (and I’m sure that full pantry was one of their best moments ever!!)

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Connie Rosser Riddle

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Atypical 60

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Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with people in my path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...

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