My big kids went back to school last week – and I went to the grocery. Because, hello, taking one toddler who is strapped into the cart is way easier than taking three of whatever other ages. Granted, my older two are helpful. They can fetch items from other aisles and hand the toddler more Goldfish from the package we just opened two aisles earlier. They also ask for more things because they have WAY MORE words than the not-quite-two-year-old.
I was silently celebrating my own back-to-school-week grocery shopping trip as I bought the baby carrots, Wheat Thins, yet another gallon of whole milk, bread, eggs, not-yet-ripe bananas along with one already spotting that would be good for banana bread sooner rather than later, mini Oreos (both the chocolate and golden varieties, of course), and four kinds of cheese.
And then I saw four college boys who were obviously doing their own kind of back-to-school shopping.
Dressed in khakis, collared shirts, and flip flops as if the friendships came with a dress code, they walked together into the dairy section. One wandered to the eggs and said to his friends lingering in the frozen foods, “How many eggs do we need?” One of his friends advised him to get one carton of 12 eggs, so he did.
I really wanted to explain to him that my family of five – that includes no college-aged boys – eats at least eight eggs at one time. Surely these boys – perhaps they’d prefer men – need more than a dozen eggs at one time. Won’t they make all those for one breakfast? Do college guys even eat breakfast together?
Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought they’d shop together, so I’m clearly not the one to ask.
As I’m having these conversations in my own head, I hear another one of the college guys say, “Hey, did anyone get the salsa?” Priorities, obviously. And they did have that in the cart.
Then they negotiated how they’d pay for the cart-load. Yes, once again, I wanted to offer advice: Just go pay for it and then when they get home split up the total. I wanted to mother these boys-almost-men.
Our town changes when the students come back each August. The traffic is heavier, the restaurants busier, and the grocery store aisles slightly more entertaining. And I like it this way.
I’m grateful I’m not the same as I was when I was a college student wandering the aisles of a grocery store wondering if I had enough of the right items. I’m thankful for God’s promise to finish what he started in my life.
God promises to complete what He starts,
which makes remembering even sweeter.
This college town is my college town and now it’s my hometown. It’s where I met my husband and grew up as a person. Our best friends are college friends. College memories collide with my everyday life because I often drive by where my dorm used to be before they tore it down. This is where I’m raising my kids as people and Racer fans. Even Rachel, who isn’t quite 2, pumps her fist in the air and says, “Go, go go!” when we pass the basketball arena or she spies an MSU logo.
We plan our winter social life around the college basketball schedule and have season tickets to watch our Racers. We even went to our first-ever Murray State women’s soccer game Sunday because Ben had been to the team’s camp and wanted to go watch a game.
Individually and through our church, we still support the campus ministry that helped influence us for the good and gave us some great friends. My family has made a couple new college-aged friends because of this same campus ministry and we still miss the former-student-now-adult who was our go-to babysitter for several years.
So, welcome back to Murray, college kids. I’m glad you want to be in our town. It’s a good place to call home. And, hey, my family is here if you need any grocery shopping tips or want a home-cooked meal. We buy more than a dozen eggs at a time and are thinking about getting chickens.
You can also read a letter I wrote to Murray State freshmen last year. Be sure to check it out because there’s an old picture of Greg and me from my college graduation day. And come back tomorrow because I have another college-related story to share.