We live less than five minutes from 7-Eleven.
It’s a bit of a curse.
Sometimes, we take the kids to ride their bikes or scooters around our quiet neighborhood, just to get some exercise and fresh air.
But it can be a challenge when you have a racing ten year old, a cautious eight year old, and a wobbly four year old on a pink Radio Flyer scooter who stops to smell the roses … and daisies and dandelions.
So you know what happens? What’s supposed to be leisure becomes a chore.
And after ten minutes, someone is thirsty. Someone is tired. Someone has crashed into a prickly bush.
Our wheels inevitably roll up to the front of the sticky, gum stained entrance of that bright green, orange and red convenience store.
“The kids want a treat from the store,” my husband says, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
Everyone in my family knows how I feel about this place.
I scan the brightly lit store. Chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, sodas, candy. A little kid’s dream. A Paleo momma’s nightmare.
The only thing remotely redeeming is that two tiered basket with soft, spotted bananas and wrinkled Red Delicious apples .
But there it is … the unmistakable rotating machine, humming constantly, turning waves of bright slushy goodness, drawing my kids into a trance-like state.
“Puhlease….,” my boys plead as their eyes follow a band of laughing older kids drinking up a rainbow of colors through striped spoon straws.
There are so many things wrong with this drink. Where do I even begin? It’s like a slap in the face to a mom who sneaks spinach into her kids’ smoothies.
“Maybe you can choose one reasonable thing here?” I offer, pointing to a bag of sunflower seeds.
The kids groan.
I never intended to turn into an uptight food police officer. But when you go through something that tears your body down and you’re now privy to every GMO and every drop of high fructose corn syrup, I suppose you become a wee bit sensitive, much to the aggravation of all those around you.
So yes, my kids see more and more green things on their plates these days. 🙂
I’m so far from perfect, but I try.
But I understand splurges. I get that veggies don’t belong in refreshing summer beverages. I get being four, eight and ten and needing to live a little.
But is it just me? Blue Lightening Blast sounds like something that fuels a rocket.
Oh 7-Eleven what are you doing to this spinach sneaking momma?
You know it takes five seconds and a mere $1.39 plus tax to fill up a domed lidded cup with blue foamy bliss.
But it takes an eternity to excavate organic frozen berries from the freezer, cut bananas, pour almond milk, throw in flax seeds, sneak in that handful of spinach, blend, pour, and serve to three kids, including one unimpressed tween who despite my “it’s EXACTLY like Jamba Juice” plug, detects something green and gritty with nark-like accuracy.
“Look,” the tween is bound to say to his younger informants-in-training, “that speck is spinach.”
7-Eleven, how dare you be so easy.
And then you sell a box of Bandaids for $5.99, and we buy it. That’s right. We buy it, because our four year old just rammed into that bush just outside your door.
You’re making a killing on being convenient.
Because I’ve rounded enough blocks to know I can only keep so many Slurpees from their hands. I can only sneak so many spinach bunches into their smoothies.
I look at my ten year old, leading our pack, his growing figure looking less and less like that tiny framed boy I once dropped off at a preschool filled with goldfish, watered down apple juice, and raisins.
I blink, and he wants a Slurpee.
I will blink again ….
I am simply struck by the weighty responsibility to show them what is good, right and true.
And please, no one, remind me just how many rounding of blocks we really have left.
I trust all of us with little ones and not so little ones, do our best with the lapsing of years.
For when the pink Radio Flyer scooter is tied up in a donation bag and left on the curb, training wheels are long off, and crooked blue stained ten year old smiles can only be revisited in photos tucked away…. we know the choice is ultimately theirs to want what’s good.
So what else can a spinach smoothie making momma do but ask for grace? For my mess ups, slip ups, for holding on when I should have pushed, for pushing when I should have held on? How can a momma who hid candy under her pillow many moons ago, show her kids to hide what’s true under theirs?
How else but grace?
How else but grace can help us live well — to enjoy God, to want Him the most, to consider Him a matchless joy worth waiting for … even if it seems costly in a Slurpee drinking world.
O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! ~ Psalm 34:8-9
written by kim midori hee 2014