With Mommy and I both working full-time, it’s a fact that as a family, we are constantly running short on quality time for the three of us together.
So even though it would be more efficient for Mommy just to go buy groceries by herself on Saturday mornings while we stay home, we instead have made it a family routine that we all go to there together.
I have learned that quality family time isn’t always automatic; it’s often something we have to create.
Granted, buying groceries is not necessarily the most stress-free thing to involve a 3 year-old. But finally, it’s gotten to a point where I feel it really is quality family time for us… largely in part because our Whole Foods in Nashville recently purchased about a dozen kid-sized shopping carts.
On the car ride there each Saturday morning, you and Mommy read stories in the back seat while I drive.
Then once we get there, you grab a kid-sized cart and literally help me buy my specific items, like my Synergy brand Kombucha (a source of Vitamin B12 for vegans) and my bottle of balsamic vinegar (I avoid eating oils for salad dressing).
It’s a lot of fun for you and me both. You actually are quite helpful to me- you take the job seriously.
You don’t make a joke of the task. It’s not like you’re running around, crashing the cart into fruit stands. You’ve never tipped over the cart or made a mess of any kind while pushing that little cart.
Then, after we’ve collected my stash, we always have a father-and-son breakfast in the Whole Foods café; which is our version of going out to eat, since most restaurants are not very enticing to plant-based families like us.
By the time we’re finished with our vegan bars and coconut water, Mommy is finished with the rest of the shopping.
What’s not to like? It has become good quality family time for us.
Of course, that kid-sized shopping cart has a lot to do with that. It gives you a purpose and transforms you into Daddy’s little helper, while Mommy has time to do the hard work. So that way everybody’s happy, even at the grocery store.
Today I am following up on that topic with what I believe is a necessary and relevant sequel, by asking the question: Honestly, do dads secretly miss their “B.C. days?”
In other words, do dads long for the days before their child (or children) came along?
I can only speak for myself here, but here’s how I feel about it:
Yes, I miss the days of being much less accountable and responsible as a human being in general; having more free time and having the privilege of being able to take life less seriously.
But interestingly, like I said a couple of days ago, I was missing something in my life back then.
I would say that most men (the ones I know, at least) are wired to want to be responsible enough to have a loving and caring relationship with their wife, and therefore, also to have a loving and caring relationship with their children as well.
For me personally, I equate being a faithful husband and father with the ultimate epitome of masculinity.
Do I miss the best parts about my life before I became a dad? Sure.
But I think that focusing on the best parts of how things used to be can be a foolish and dangerous thing. Instead, I know it’s important to focus on the best parts of my life now.
The thought of keeping you at bay in the dog toy section of Harris Teeter while Mommy buys groceries either seems funny and random or completely typical for a modern American dad.
To me, it’s an honor. I get to mold a young 2 year-old boy in the ways of the world. I get to teach what is “normal.”
Yes, it’s weird to let you shake a white dog toy named “Flea,” as you think he’s somehow related to Elmo.
(“It’s Elmo?!” You confusingly tried to convince yourself, despite the fact he had 6 legs.)
But if it weren’t for me in your life, who would be creating these bizarre story lines for you? That’s my job and I’m proud of it!
Tonight, after I read you Where The Wild Things Are for the 9th night in a row, I told you that I love you; as I do every night after I sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as your lullaby. (That’s per your request, by the way.)
This was the first time you ever said “I love you” back.
I would choose the best parts of my life with you any day over the best parts of my life before you.
In my mind, taking a one year-old little boy grocery shopping is supposed to be a nightmare. Maybe that comes later. Because as for now, Jack sure doesn’t mind accompanying us in part of our Sunday-after-church ritual: buying groceries at Publix.
More importantly, he’s not at all annoying while we are there. Instead, he is always easily entertained. That makes me happy.
Here recently, the event became more fun than ever, for the whole family, as Jack is now age and size appropriate for the cool “kids” grocery cart.
One of my rules as a dad is to over-stimulate him as much as possible to keep him engaged (and to get him tired enough to take regular naps) without relying on electronic devices to catch his attention to do it.
I want him to be awed by the beauty of nature. Or at least a big grocery store; equipped with high ceilings, bright lights, healthy food, and plenty of random people to stare at.
When Jack is cruisin’ in his hot rod shopping cart, it’s like he thinks he’s a famous local celebrity in a hometown parade.
Of course, I admit, it won’t be that long before he can talk. And I know what that means:
“I want that!”
Yeah, I don’t want to think about that right now. I’ll just let him keep thinking he’s the head of the parade.