Revising My Grocery List

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI didn’t expect it. It was early Sunday afternoon. After a final four intense hours of work, I had just left school and my report cards were done. Finis! Complete!  With almost 48 hours to spare!  The weight was off my shoulders and I practically skipped out of the building and into my car, singing all the way. About ten minutes later, entering the grocery store, I was still slightly giddy with joy.

I walked into the produce section and a pyramid of gleaming scarlet fruit immediately caught my eye — cherries! Oh! I should get some cherries. Connor loves them. And then I remembered. Connor had moved out this weekend. I didn’t need to consider him as I shopped. I’d sent him off with some staples from our pantry just yesterday morning and now…Well, now he was no longer on my grocery list.


In the past 2-3 months, my son has gotten (finally!) his driver’s license, graduated from college, bought a car, got a job, signed a lease for his first apartment, and moved in with his girlfriend. That’s a lot of life changes. I know they’re really about him, but I get caught up a bit in the turbulent wake.

On Sunday I stood in the grocery store and realized- Everything’s changed. I’d been expecting this for years now. Freshman year. Spring break. First summer. There had already been long stretches of time where I wasn’t shopping for him. But really, he’d still been around, part of the family planning, his preferences a staple on my grocery list, his return just a holiday or long weekend away. This was no longer true. It was a startling realization. Disconcerting.

After a few misty moments, I slowly passed the cherries. I picked up some avocados for Adeline and then saw the stacked packets of pistachios—Nope. I don’t need those.  I walked to the back of the store and passed by the deli—No ham and sliced cheese today. In the cracker aisle, I tossed in a box of lightly salted rice crackers for Lydia. We won’t need as many Ritz crackers anymore. Meandering down the juice aisle, I grabbed some cranberry juice and eyed the rainbow-colored Gatorade bottles. No need to consider which flavor to buy this week. I continued my shopping, passing cheese sticks, yogurt drinks and bags of chips, and collecting other items still necessary to our household.

Connor’s well and truly on his own now. I know this is how it should be and I’m proud of him and happy for him. But part of me is mourning. I know this is natural; I just didn’t expect it to hit me in the produce section. Another writer could probably find a rich metaphor in this grocery store moment–something about food, love, nourishment. All I know is that I checked out with a slightly emptier cart, feeling more than slightly bereft.


16 thoughts on “Revising My Grocery List

  1. Lisa Rizzo says:

    Only a mother can understand the mixed emotions of pride and sorrow. Next time buy something really special for yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Keeler says:

    First- can I just say that your voice comes through so loud and clear in this Slice. It is beautiful. And I love how you structure the piece around seeing the cherries in the produce section. It’s great writing. And on a personal note, I am right behind you. My youngest heads to college in the fall and I know I am going to have moments just like the one you describe so well. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Lisa! It’s quite a process! There are also wonderful moments where you sit back and watch your young adult children exploring their world and rockin’ it. That’s amazing –and the flip side of the coin I guess.


  3. Adrienne says:

    This was a lovely piece. Real life always hits us in real places, like the grocery store.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    I think you’re prepping me of what’s to come down my path someday, hopefully not soon. The line that struck me the most was that you didn’t expect this to hit you in the produce department. Maybe you’ll just need to start dropping groceries off at his new place or send a care package!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jhaworthoy says:

    It is strange, yet not really, when reality hits us…like you in the produce section. Your last sentence was powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wilcox Carol says:

    Totally understand this! When my boys went away to school I cried, I got teary eyed every time I went to the store for several months.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I over-shopped for years after our kids moved out. You will adjust, but you’ll always miss them. Sending you a hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love being a witness to your family history. What great stories for your grandchildren!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. elsie says:

    Isn’t it funny how we work so hard to prepare our children to be self-sufficient adults but yet when it is time to let go, it hurts and becomes difficult. It will get easier as you shop, at least you still have two at home. I didn’t have any more at home, so it was really heartbreaking, especially since he moved across the country too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Across the country! Yikes! I know I’m fortunate all my children are close by (within 2 hours)–at least for the moment. Raising children is quite a process!


  10. On a positive note, sometimes they come back. My son and his wife now live with us while he attends law school.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, that’s what I have to look forward to in a few years?? Dang! 🙂 My oldest just graduated from high school, so we are in the “last summer together almost ready for college” mode right now. It’s an exciting time, yet scary on so many different levels. I can only imagine your own heart in that process. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse inside that heart and letting us see what this transition is like.

    Liked by 1 person

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