Most of you have probably never cried in your local grocery store.
I have though. Twice.
Three years ago was the first time I found myself in tears at Aldi. The Reverend and I had just moved to the Springfield area and I had spent all day driving around and getting lost (partially because the area was new and partially because a co-worker had given me a bad address).
I was exhausted, but knew that we needed some basics from the grocery store. I happened to be near an Aldi (thank goodness, because I wasn’t going to risk getting lost again!) I went inside, filled my cart, and got in line to pay.
Aldi only accepts cash and debit.
I had neither.
But I did have a cart full of food…
I went to a nearby ATM to learn that I was not on the “approved list” for Chance’s credit card, and wasn’t allowed to withdraw money. It didn’t seem to matter that we’d been married for three years and I had a card in MY name. After spending twenty minutes on the phone with Chance and the Discover Card company, I was finally able to withdraw enough money to pay for my cart of groceries.
When I finally returned to Aldi to pay, the woman at the checkout told me to “have a nice day.” At that point, I burst into tears. I was homesick for our previous town and ministry. I was tired and frustrated by my difficult day. The difficult experience of trying to pay for my groceries had pushed me over the edge. At that point, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to “have a nice day” again!
The second time I cried in Aldi was this past Saturday.
Ever since Nasko came home, grocery shopping has been difficult.
We live thirty minutes from our nearest Aldi and Walmart. It’s most practical to knock out a few weeks of shopping in one trip. Because of this fact, our trips typically take two or three hours.
Two or three hours is a very long time for a child with sensory issues to control himself in the very overstimulating and traumatizing environment that is Walmart.
When we first adopted Nasko, my parents shopped with us every few weeks. It seemed to take both of them to keep Nasko in the cart, entertain him, and help him not wig out. They’d attend to him while I tried to go through my list and not forget anything.
On Saturday, Nasko and I headed into Springfield for some grocery shopping following our vacation to Florida. My list was pretty long, and I was nervous about our time at the store.
We have progressed to shopping without my parents, but some days, we still leave Walmart with Nasko screaming and Mama wanting to scream as well.
This particular Saturday though, Nasko seemed to be in a good mood. He asked to walk next to the cart rather than ride inside it. I approved of this decision and we entered the store.
After a minute, Nasko took the cart from me and said “Help Mama!” He wanted to push the cart while I took care of the list. He did very well with this task! We made it through all of Aldi with Nasko pushing the cart while I gathered the groceries.
We finally paid for our groceries (I had plenty of cash this time – thanks Dave Ramsey!) and I began putting them into bags. At that time, I lost it. I began to cry as I realized how far Nasko has come. He’s been home for seven months and basic tasks are finally becoming easier. I was so proud and so happy.
The tears of frustration three years ago were not so pleasant, but here’s to more tears of happiness at the grocery store!