Over the last few months you fellow bloggers have told me that the main reason you read blogs is to get a glimpse into someone else’s life. I mean, here we all are, scattered around the globe, connected to each other by sharing our thoughts, our inspirations, our mishaps and yes, even our rants sometimes. It widens our perspectives, allows us to support one another, and on occasion it may even inject a bit of humour into a situation that didn’t appear to be amusing initially.
I’ll tell you why I read blogs: I like glimpsing into your life. 🙂
With that said, I will now tell you what I saw yesterday at the grocery store:
A glimpse into my middle-class, urban, stay-and-work-at-home mom life during an ordinary errand run.
If you happen to be a parent of school-aged kids, you maybe able to commiserate, nod in agreement, or smile at a distant but familiar memory (if you’re an empty nester). Or, maybe you’re completely surprised by the possibility that this actually happens. Or, if you’re not there yet…glimpse into what may still come down the road when you’re done with toilet training and wiping noses.
So here’s what happened:
My timing to pick up a few things (and forget the ever crucial items on my lists like jam, and window cleaner) coincided with the elementary school’s lunch hour. That school near my chosen store happens to be the one my son goes to. He’s in grade 7, which means he and his classmates are allowed to leave the school property at lunch (with signed permission from a parent).
So, I’m pushing my cart precariously towering with toilet paper, kleenex boxes, paper towel packs and other large items into the parking lot when I see a group of young teen girls leaving the store right behind me. I recognize one of them and marvel how tall she’s gotten. She’s in my son’s grade and they’ve known each other since Kindergarten.
She didn’t see me, or, if she did, didn’t recognize me.
She was with two other friends, and they had their hands full.
I will pause here for effect and let you consider a few things:
- They are young teen girls between 12 and 14
- They just left the store with several packages of junk food
- They were eating their junk while giggling
I looked around to see if there were others. Boys, maybe? I recall running into some of my son’s male friends a few months ago at that same store, but that was a day prior to a ski trip. The purpose of their store trip was to load up on snacks for the long bus ride the next day.
Anyway, these were the thoughts that popped into my head:
The amount of junk these girls bought was astonishing (to me).
I realize teens are experimenting with their freedom, and shopping for junk food is one that is particularly enticing to them. What fun it must be to buy a family sized pack of Joe Louis and Twinkies, extra large bags of chips, and family packs of M&Ms and then ripping into that in the parking lot of the store, without anyone (mom 🙄) saying anything.
Teens today have access to cash. A lot of cash.
It just so happens that my teen has two part-time jobs: a newspaper delivery and he’s an umpire for his baseball league. The money he makes with the papers is minimal and counts as pocket cash, to be spent on whatever he wishes. The money he makes umping is more significant and he put most of it in the bank. ( proud mom ❤ )
But I know for a fact that many young teens do not have an income at all and yet, they’re pockets are always full of money. Do parents pay them a generous amount of pocket money? How do they earn income if it’s income? Babysitting? Chores? I mean, the amount of cash some of my kid’s friends have is surprising to me.
Do they actually eat all the junk they buy?
One of the things I found interesting when my son entered grade 7 and was given permission to leave the school yard at lunch time was that he was no longer starving when he came home after school. Here I thought teen boys will eat me out of the house, but now, he only occasionally asks for a snack. I often wondered why that is.
Well, it’s because he has cash and stops at the convenience store near his bus stop to load up on junk. Or, from what I found out yesterday, the girls go shopping for family sized packs of junk while the boys play sports at the park, and then the girls come back and share their junk with the boys.
Is this a thing?
I asked my son if the girl who buys the stuff wants anything in return. He said no, she just buys too much and doesn’t eat most of it so she leaves it for them. Apparently one day she bought a whole pack of popsicles and left it for the boys.
I have mixed feelings about this whole situation and wonder, what will come next. I mean, is she just generous or is there something else going on? (I know her and her dad well, but that doesn’t mean much now that they’re teens.) I’m sure it’s all harmless, and they do have a limited amount of time during lunch, but still, I wonder…
So I turn a blind eye. I mean, if I sit here and worry about every minutiae they’re into at this age, I’ll drive myself into the looney bin.
The hour-long lunch recess allows young teens to make independent decisions about how, and where, they spend their time
My son and his buddies can’t wait to get to the park at lunch. They gobble their food and organize themselves into some game. Currently, it’s baseball, but judging by the state of his knees a couple of weeks ago they played soccer (football) then.
If I happen to drive by at such a time when lunch recess is on, I often see the girls huddle together near the swings, or under a tree, giggling, staring at screens, hanging out. The boys in the meantime are in the middle of the park burning energy.
I drove by my other child’s school on the way back and saw that it’s similar there. Only near her school there’s a McDonalds. Guess where the teens go from her school at lunch?
But she’s only in grade 5 and still safely tucked into her supervised school yard at lunch.
In the meantime, my worry about the excessive amount of junk my son is exposed to has not relented at all. But, all I can do is promote healthy choices, and serve the opposite of junk, and hope for the best. At some point he has to realize that he’s not doing himself any favours consuming everything that’s offered to him, especially with hockey season staring up again in a couple of months. He learned the hard way last year that an unsuitable diet has negative effects on his stamina and health, and I just hope the proverbial penny dropped inside his head then, and will again in the future.
And just to leave this story on a positive note: when he came home last night he had with him a store-bought bottle of fancy vitamin water. It was flavoured with stevia and lime juice, and carbonated. I asked, why did you buy that instead of the usual icky slurpies?
He said he didn’t buy it, it was free, because he had enough points.
Well, that sure beats that icky pizza he brought home from the 7 Eleven one day…
And, when I asked him if he had a Joe Louis at lunch, he didn’t know what I was talking about. 😂