Reframing

Grocery bags by the door-2 2017-03-27 08.08.56
Bag o’ grocery bags, waiting by the door

Every Sunday afternoon, we go grocery shopping. Every Sunday afternoon, I dread the time leading up to grocery shopping. We usually leave around 5:00 pm, give or take a few minutes, but Mother starts asking about it shortly after lunch.

“What time are we going to the grocery store?”

“I’m not sure, Mom; around 5:00, probably.

“Well, I’ll be ready!”

“I know you will.” (said under my breath for no apparent reason, as Mom can’t hear me unless I face her and yell.)

Around 2:30, Mom gets up and heads toward her room. I realize it’s time for me to prompt her to change her Depends. I move to the door of the office, and she looks up and says, “I’m going to change my Depends.” Wow. Good job, Mom!

After her trip to the bathroom, she heads into the bedroom, gets dressed, goes back to the bathroom to put on her lipstick, and moves back to the couch to wait until it’s time to go the the store. “I’m ready to go to the store when you are!” she calls out. It is a full two hours before the time I told her we’d be leaving. Every half-hour or so, she calls out, “Are we about ready to go?” No, Mom. This half of we is not.

I finally get my weekly meal plan and grocery list pulled together, and we head out the door. I grab the bag o’ grocery bags, and open the car doors for Mom to get in and for me to put her walker in. I try to hand her her purse with one hand while I wrangle the walker with the other.

“Just put in on the floor, here.”

“JUST TAKE IT!”

I get her walker into the back, get in the car, and start the ignition.

“Did you put my walker in the back?”

I nod. I wish I could say ‘I always put your walker in the back’, but in a distracted moment, about 4 years ago, I forgot and almost drove off without it. Now she asks every time.

I don’t want to be annoyed by our shopping trip every week, but it seems I always am by the time we get going. On the short drive to Publix, I’m thinking about how the circumstances aren’t going to change, so I need to somehow change how I look at the circumstances. Mom really enjoys going to the grocery store and seeing the people there. She looks forward to it all weekend. Except for the PACE Center, it’s her only outing. Her weekly outing.

That’s it! I won’t be going grocery shopping on Sundays anymore. Instead, I will be taking Mom on her much-anticipated Weekly Outing, at which time I will also have the opportunity to buy our groceries. I’ll let y’all know how that goes….

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