Hot Date At The Grocery Store

We went on a date to the grocery store yesterday. Mel’s parents were in town, so they watched the kids. This was the first time we’d been on a full blown, enough food for the whole family, grocery trip without kids in… well… we couldn’t remember.

We actually discussed it near the produce section.

It felt good to be without kids. No one puked. No one snagged anything off the shelf and broke it. No one begged for anything. No one cried. No one pooped their pants.

No one threw a fit!

It was liberating.

Now, I know. Those of you reading this without kids are like, “Grocery store. Wow… you two sure know how to party.”

Well, the thing is, after being married for almost 13 years, and after having three kids, your standards change. Suddenly, going to the store as a couple, without kids, becomes pretty amazing.

We joked. There was banter. We flirted. I may have grabbed Mel’s butt as she compared cereal prices. She may have laughed. Or perhaps she swatted at me. The details are sketchy.

And while this date was far from reality TV worthy, when you are parents, it doesn’t get much better than shopping with your spouse with no kids.

Over the years, we’ve gotten pretty good at distributing the labor. Sometimes Mel goes to the store alone while I watch the kids. Sometimes I go. Sometimes we take one kid, or two. Never three alone. That would be a death mission. I mean, it happens, but only when it’s unavoidable and we have a short list.

We’ve had to create these boundaries to keep each other sane. There is something so confusing and frustrating about shopping with kids. When we both go with all three children, the tension gets high between us.

I won’t say that shopping with kids is 100% hell, but it’s at least 75%. If it’s too close to nap time, it’s more like 85%.

And I think that’s why, when you are parents, there is something so rewarding about going shopping with the person you love, no kids.

It isn’t exciting. It isn’t sexy. What it is, however, is a way to get something done for the family while spending uninterrupted time together. We can see a casual side of each other. One that isn’t flustered, or exhausted, or in a rush.

Mel and I laughed a lot as we shopped. And we discussed a time before kids, when we got to do this regularly.

“I can’t believe we didn’t look forward to these trips,” Mel said.

“We were idiots,” I said.

Our grocery store date, our banter, all of it, came to an end at the register. Turns out Mel has a system for putting things on the checkout belt, and I was flagrantly not following her protocols.

Eventually, I started to bag the groceries, but we argued about that too. We weren’t angry or anything. It was more of how two people talk who have lived together long enough to complain about how the dishwasher is loaded, or the toilet paper roll is hung.

The cashier said, “So this is my future.”

I smiled and said, “Someday you will go on a hot grocery store date with the person you love. And you know what will happen?”

“What?” She said.

“You will realize that you still love each other,” I said. Then I winked at Mel as she tried to fix the damage I’d done in the cart. Then she rolled her eyes, and smiled, and finally blew me a kiss.

We left the store with a full cart of groceries. Mel complained a little more about how I packed some of the bags.

“Can you still love me?” I asked.

“I suppose,” she said with a smile.

We loaded the van. Mel checked the time, “Oh baby! We totally still have time for Costco!”

“Let the good times roll,” I said.

We shared a high five. As we drove through the parking lot, I said, “We should do this every week.”

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