You’ve made it to the grocery store. Start in the produce section with the endless plastic bag hoo-ha before hitting canned goods. Don’t use up your reserves. You’ve a long journey.

Next up, heavy lifting in aisle thirteen. My troop bathes in red sauce, apparently, going through many units a week. Throw in a soup, or ten. And a mustard, or five. It could snow, after all. Feel the burn in your guns as they go into the cart, and round towards frozen foods and dairy.

Cows aren’t enough for your individualists, so: almond milk, oat milk, unflavored, sweetened, unsweetened with vanilla and—wait for it—pea protein milk join the cart as you press ever onwards. 

You can’t see the produce in your cart any longer, but that’s okay. You’re almost home free, when the prepared food section appears (like the miracle it is) and suddenly you’ve topped off your basket with two weeks of essentials like crab coated salmon, foie gras, twice baked potatoes, fluffy lemon rice and herb risotto cakes because, let’s face it, you just want it.

Sprinting towards the check out, like Seabiscuit to the finish, somehow a rogue twelve-pack of sushi and a dozen cupcakes top the cart, jiggling perilously close to the eggs you don’t remember grabbing.

Flooded with shame at the cashier’s grand total, you bolt for the minivan. But you get lost with parking dementia (it’s a thing) and ultimately hurl the bags into the backseat before racing home. You haul it all inside, take a break, unpack half, take a break, shove cold things in the fridge, take a nap, work the freezer like a Jenga boss, and— it’s time for dinner.

So, of course, you order Chinese food.


Cate Berry is an Austin-based children’s book author and mother of two. She also teaches writing workshops for young people at

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