As of now, all my children are adults. My youngest just celebrated his eighteenth birthday. Amazing! Back when I was responsible for all the school stuff, scout stuff, soccer stuff, youth group stuff, etc, I wanted to minimize my trips to the grocery store. I was all for buying in bulk. And actually, buying 7-8 gallons of milk at a time really only lasted about a week. Now my life is paced a bit differently. I am working more than I did a few years ago, but it is more according to my agenda and less according to the whims of the English teacher or the soccer coach.
I also have fewer knees under my kitchen table at meal times. Often there are three of us, but it is not unusual to just have two. Every now and then we get four or more for dinner. Gone are the days of filling one grocery cart with just milk bread and breakfast cereal.
It really works out easier now to make a couple of small runs to the grocery each week instead of a huge run every two weeks. I am also learning to buy from the farmers market according to what I will use over a few days rather than weeks. When I first tried shopping at the farmers market I found I still had my stocking up mentality. The produce was all so gorgeous. I bought great quantities. But then it would spoil because I couldn't use it fast enough. Now I plan my meals and think about what I will use over a couple of days.
Summer is wonderful because there are two farmers markets very nearby. One on Thursdays is my source for fresh eggs and amazing ethnic foods in addition to the produce. The one on Saturday offers a dairy that makes incredible chipotle cheddar cheese, another that sells fresh Greek yogurt, and an orchard owner that offers incredible peaches and apples. Both markets have an ample supply of squash, tomatoes, onions, and greens. And I have learned to pace myself. I can buy just one tomato at a time if that is all I am going to use.
At the time when all my children were home it made sense to fill the pantry to the gills. Now, we have the luxury of a little more simplicity. Shopping is now a leisurely outing and I have time to take advantage of items with a great fresh taste but a limited shelf life. Apparently I am not the only one who prefers freshness. As I looked out my window I noticed that the goldfinches were completely ignoring my feeders full of nyger seed but were delicately perched on the rudbeckia blossoms and feeding on the dark seeds in the center.
I like this new rhythm in my life. I still have some long term goals and short term deadlines looming. But I am also better able to appreciate life one day at a time. I wonder what I should have done, if anything, to have found this peace sooner. Maybe it is just that as the years go by I see God's grace and goodness more and more. I realize my role is to cooperate more than control. The little pressures are put in perspective and it is easier to let go.