Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Shopping Cart



Several years ago, I remember listening to one of my favorite talk shows on the radio and the host shared a story about an experience he had with a shopping cart. He had been sitting in his car, maybe he was waiting on his wife to come out of the store, or he had been talking on his phone. Either way he’d been sitting in his car for several minutes and watched as one person after another attempted to pull one cart apart from another, gave up, and than moved on to a free one.

This really piqued his interest. He wanted to know what was so difficult about this one particular cart that kept people walking away from it, so he got out of the warmth of his car and gave it a try himself. He tugged and he tugged and sure enough, that cart was stuck.

Determined he pulled on the cart again, really using good ol’ elbow grease this time. Still no go. Remember, he had no use for the cart, he just wanted to see what all the fuss was about and now that he was here, he was determined to get the job done. Again he tugged on the handle of the cart, applied even more strength, and this time it pulled free of the other cart.

That story has always stuck with me because he didn’t give up. He didn’t throw in the towel and take the easy way out. Sure, it’s just a shopping cart, but for me, at that time in my life, it symbolized so much more. It was my recovery, my healing, my writing, my journaling, my “me” time, and getting back to the basics while I found myself again.

There were so many times that I wanted to say, “This is just too hard for me. I can’t go on,” but that image of the radio host pulling on shopping carts had a way of reminding me that I could keep on pushing myself just a little bit more. Apply a bit more mental elbow grease and get through this so I won’t be stuck like the carts.

The last few weeks I've turned to that mental image again and again. Things at home have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. While it was wonderful to have my oldest child home for the holidays, we had some unfortunate events occur during that time.

The problem with my youngest child and all they're going through as a result of the choices their birth father continues to make is taking it's toll. Counseling isn't helping yet and it breaks my heart to watch my child continue to be in such pain over something they can't control but desperately wants to.

We were also looking forward to sharing the news with everyone that we were going to be grandparents, instead, the family had to break the news of a miscarriage to our oldest on the day before Christmas Eve instead of surprising them with the of the baby. The silver lining in all of this was that the family grew closer in the last few weeks than I thought ever possible and we can look forward to the couple (my middle child) trying again.Very soon.

I'm grateful to have the shopping cart analogy to turn to when I think times are too tough for me to handle. I can remember to give myself that mental kick in the ass that I need. Now, whenever I find two shopping carts jammed together, I think of that radio host’s story and smile, than I do my best to yank those suckers apart.

Do you leave the shopping carts stuck or do pull them apart? Have you heard a story on the radio that inspired you?



42 comments:

  1. Very sorry for your oldest. And for what your youngest is going through.
    Sometimes we wonder why we are doing this, why we keep struggling. But we have to, otherwise we just mire in the misery forever.

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    1. It was tough to break the news to our oldest about what was happening with our middle child rather than celebrating the news of a new addition to the family. To watch my youngest struggle day after day makes me want to punch their birth father in the face but I had to settle for a kindly worded email to him instead. It's better than getting sued. :)

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  2. Hugs to you, Elsie. I hope that 2017 brings easier times for you all.

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    1. Thanks, Debra. I think it will. I have a feeling the middle child will be telling us we're going to be grandparents before the end of the year. The couple is looking forward to trying again, I think.

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  3. Sorry for what your kids are going through Elsie...and you guys too. As for the shopping cart analogy....in real life I won't bother trying to pry the thing loose. I hate grocery shopping as it is. lol As an analogy, I'm not sure if I power through or give up. I guess it depends on the situation.

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    1. Thanks, JoJo. Things can only get better, right? Plus, I can still fantasize about punching my youngest birth father in the face. That brings a smile to my face. ;) I also hate to go food shopping. I have to go tomorrow and we're expecting a snow storm so it's going to packed. Ugh.

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  4. Im sorry Elsie, Hugs to you we always have something, didn't?? and is difficult I know !Send you hugs and love and hope the best for theis year my dear! xoxoxox

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    1. Thank you, Gloria. I appreciate the love and hugs. I hope you're doing well!

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  5. Life sure sounds trying for your kiddos indeed. Hopefully things work out for them and all of you. But yeah, we have to do what we need to do to push the damn carts apart and keep on keeping on. Especially when people tell you you can't, then I'll get a damn sledgehammer and break the things apart haha can you tell I'm stubborn? Now excuse me while I go find the easy cart to pull away. When it comes to actual germy carts, I just get the easy one.

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    1. I used to walk away from the carts too but after hearing the radio host telling that story, there's something in me that just won't let me walk away anymore. I guess that makes me just as stubborn as you. Maybe I need to carry a sledge hammer too haha

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  6. Wow, so sorry to hear about all of that. I'm glad to hear you guys are stronger and closer as a result. I'm one of those people who never gives up on anything, because that moment that you finally pry those two carts apart is like magic. With that said... I don't actually do that with the REAL carts, though. The second I give half a tug and it doesn't budge, I move onto the next cart. Hey, I'm hungry. I don't have time for this!

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    1. As bad as it sucked to go through, it really did bring us all together as a family, including my middle child's significant other who now calls us mom and dad. We were there for the entire miscarriage as it happened (they stayed with us) and so I think that really bonded them (and us) even closer. I just talked to my middle child and they have plans to try again in a few months with the mentality of "If it happens, it happens." No pressure. So they are already in a much better head space.

      I agree with you about not giving up on something because it really does feel like a magical moment when it all comes together. I'll bet the next time you come across two carts stuck together, you'll try to pull them apart...that's what happened with me!

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  7. This was such a great analogy about working at something hard or giving up. I have to admit that I usually just move to another shopping cart if the one I first try is stuck in line. But I know that the next time I'm in a difficult situation, or even at the grocery store, I'll think of this and try a little harder. Why leave it for the next person to struggle with? I am sorry for the difficult times you are going through and your children's struggles, but I am glad that you were able to use it as a time of coming closer to each other, in the end it will all be ok. XOXO

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    1. That's exactly how it worked with me, Josie. I didn't put much thought into the story when I first heard it as he told it on the radio. It was in reflection, as I was pondering over a step I was working on in my program. His words just kept coming back to me. It's funny how much power words can have, isn't it? To inspire someone like that, and I'll bet he has no idea. I should send him a link to this, he'd get a kick out of it I'd bet. Glad to hear it left an impression on you too. Thank you for your kind words. XOXO

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  8. Some people just don't know how to treat their kids. We have friends who struggle with theirs due to neglectful/absent/mean birth parents. And as a foster parent, I saw all sorts of terrible things. Just be there for your youngest.

    I'm so very sorry your other child lost the baby.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. It's tough to watch my child struggle over something I can do almost nothing about. An email to their father seems like such an empty gesture but it'll have to do for now, along with that image of slapping him upside the head, of course :)

      I cannot thank you enough for being a foster parent. That is an amazing task and it takes truly special people to do it. Thank you for being one of them.

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  9. First and most important, the youngest thing. My son has two stepkids that have different dads- one a total asshole through dedication to being one, the other the common ordinary street-level asshole that can be more easily dealt with. I don't get selfishness on a scale that hurts an innocent who should be growing into your best friend. But I do see it.

    Second, did you see the gif floating around the other day of the guy who was trying to remove the cart from the WRONG end of the cart corral? Sometimes persistence IS just stupidity.

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    1. I don't get it either, Chris. It makes no sense to me. If it were just every day "normal" hurtful stuff, not that that's any better, but you know what I mean hopefully, maybe it wouldn't be so bad, but this is an issue they're going to have to deal with for the rest of their life. It's never going to go anywhere. So we're left to pick up the emotional pieces of the mess he's created. Frustrating that he won't get the help he needs and honestly, I feel he deserves.

      No, I haven't seen the GIF. I'll have to take a look for it.

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  10. I'm very sorry to hear about the miscarriage as well as hearing about how your younger child is in pain.

    I hope that you and your family will be able to comfort and support each other during this time.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia. I appreciate that. We really have come together even closer as a family. It's one of those times I'm grateful we established Family Meetings when the kids were younger. We used them a lot the last few weeks.

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  11. The problem with that story is that you don't know if it's true. Who is actually going to say, "Yeah, I tried, and I couldn't do it either." No, if it's going to be a story, it's going to be how the said radio host is better than everyone else by doing the same thing harder but actually succeeding, a story that rings false to me.
    Mainly because when carts get stuck together, pulling harder is almost never the way to get them apart. Doing that just sticks them more. You actually have to push them closer together so that the lifted portion which is sticking the carts falls loose so that you can lift it above the lip of the cart rim. It's a thing which takes approaching from a different perspective rather than just asserting more brute force.

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    1. Perhaps, but his story definitely inspired and resonated with me and when I apply more pressure and strength to the carts that are stuck together, they come apart for me. Either way, it's a great reminder for me not to give up and walk away if something seems to difficult, but instead try harder and like you said, maybe even look at it with a different perspective.

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  12. Hi Elsie - I can certainly see the event ... usually with a hand-held basket ... but things get stuck - they do at home too: then I wait for someone to release the thing for me! Good analogy though ... but I'm sorry for the news, but if it helped bring the family together a bit more - with their empathy and understanding ... all the best for this year - Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary! Oh my gosh, yes! Those hand-held baskets get stuck all the time. Unfortunately, I don't have much occasion to use them because I'm usually buying way too much. ;) Thank you for your kind words. Happy New Year!

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  13. I'm so sorry for all you and your family went through. I hope the new year will bring you happiness. Take care.

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I appreciate your support. Much happiness to you too.

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  14. I'm so sorry about the miscarriage, hon. That's a slicing pain for the expectant Mommy and whole family. I love you. Keep on keepin on.

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    1. Thanks, my dearest friend. It was tough for all of us but the couple is doing better and has been staying with us on and off so it's been a good chance for healing for all of us, I think. Love you!!

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  15. At first I thought where the hell is she going with the story about the shopping cart but read on and thought how terrible it is when one suffers a miscarriage, many people dismiss it as not important and say just get over it, not me it is a real loss and one people need to grieve and recover from, just my thought.

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    1. I had to chuckle about your thoughts on the shopping cart. ;)

      There was a period of mourning for sure and the mom still has her moments but she's processing it and moving through it. I think that's the healthiest thing.

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  16. Great story about the shopping cart! Although, I must admit, if that happens to me, I often go on to the easier one
    I think this says a lot about me. And I'm now depressed.

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    1. I was that person too, Al, so don't feel too bad. It wasn't until I heard that story on the radio that I changed my thinking :)

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  17. That’s really an inspiring story to keep us going and I am glad it continues to inspire you always. Though despite the miscarriage (which I am sure is a pain) it’s wonderful to hear that family come closer than before. My wishes for the couples and I hope they see their dream exists very soon and a happy granny again :)

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    1. Thank you, Jeevan. I'm happy that the couple is trying to have a baby again. Not sure when it will happen, but when the time is right, it will. That makes my heart smile.

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  18. I hope you and yours had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and are having a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at SiteHoundSniffs.com.

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    1. Thank you, Jerry. I hope you and yours had a happy holiday season too. I would love for you to display my header. The more people who visit here, the more people I can help. Thank you again!

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    2. Thank you so very much for giving permission. You can see your linked header under All, Literary and the United Staes. If you could say something (preferably good) about SiteHoundSniffs.com here and there, we would greatly appreciate it.

      P.S.: I tried to send this as a reply to the email you sent me, but it came back undeliverable for some reason. Oh, and I hope your book proves to be a great success.

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  19. First, sorry about the baby. Will they try again?

    Second, could the answer be in this line you wrote???? " ...over something they can't control but desperately wants to.

    Sounds like the want to control causes more problems than not.

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    1. They plan on trying again within the next few months when it's safe for her to do so. We all can't wait! Ah, yes, control. You know how much I love to control everything...and they probably wish they could too. The good news though is that the birth father has finally acknowledged that there was damage done and he needs to be part of the solution.

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    2. Thanks for taking the time to write back. Here's to a killer weekend for you guys.

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  20. He wanted to know what was so difficult about this one particular cart that kept people walking away from it... See, now I'm that shopping cart! No joke, Elsie. Luckily for me, some people don't give up on me that easily.

    Thanks for sharing that. Don't give up!

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  21. What heartbreaking news. I hope your middle child has success with conceiving again. Nothing hurts worse than watching your kids suffer, eh? Here's to the heartache of parenthood and keeping our heads above water! (Or our carts separated.)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.