How I dread grocery shopping alone with my girls.
I will put it off. I will avoid it. I will find excuses not to do it. But the day comes when I look in the fridge and I realize with a sinking heart that I have to.
Today was one of those days. I had to go shopping with my 18-month-old daughters. And I had to go to two different places, which made my heart feel even heavier.
So I made istikharah, coaxed them into the car, and off we went, with my mind imagining every scenario possible and thinking of how I would deal with the situation. What if there isn’t a double-seater cart? I’ll take a regular one and make one sit in it while the other walks behind me. What if they both refuse? I’ll let them walk behind me, but keep my eyes on them while I try to shop. What if they start playing hide-and-seek? I stop thinking at that point and just pray for the best.
When I get there, both girls are asleep. I put one in the basket of the cart, and ball the other up into the front of the cart where she’s supposed to sit, but can’t, since she’s sleeping. I wish I have a camera with me. I start rolling my cart down the aisles. I finish shopping. The kids are still asleep.
Alhamdulillah. What a small thing to happen – they fell asleep, but what a huge burden lifted off my mind.
Now it’s time to head for the whole-sale center, and I make sure I have all my coupons with me. I’m holding one coupon especially tight: $3 off a large lasagna. I’m hungry, and my mouth waters at the thought, but my heart tells me I shouldn’t be buying this: it’s not essential, since I can easily cook other things, so it’s wasting money on things I don’t really need; it’s not the healthiest food to buy, with all the fat it; and in the end I’m just buying it to indulge my stomach’s desire. Not the best reason to buy something.
But I decide anyway that I will buy it, and push the guilty thoughts to the side. While I’m shopping, I take a look at my coupons, and realize the lasagna coupon isn’t there! What? I just had it in my hand! I look furiously for it, searching my purse for it, going through my pockets, looking on the floor behind me – perhaps I dropped it. But it’s no where to be found.
My heart has a sad face on it now, but I continue shopping, with both girls wondering what Mama’s looking for so carefully. I finish shopping, with both girls on their best behavior, thankfully, and go back to the car. As I’m unloading the cart into the trunk, I lift the last package, and what do I see under it?
The lasagna coupon.
For a second, I feel great regret. Why didn’t I look for it better when I was in the store? I’m not about to go back in now with both girls just to buy that. But after getting in the car and driving away, a strange new sensation befell me. What a Wonderful, Caring, Kind Lord I have. I felt Allah was taking care of me, by making me lose the coupon. Perhaps I would have gained 5 pounds after eating it, and He knows how I hate gaining weight. Perhaps one of my daughters would have had an allergic reaction to something in it, and He knows she’s had so many already. Perhaps He’s helping me save my money for more important things.
Such a small thing to happen – losing a coupon, but what a happy feeling it gave me. I felt cared for, looked out for, and loved.
Asiya Akyurt lives in Virginia with her husband and twin daughters. She is an active MAS member with an ijaza (certificate) in Qur’anic recitation and tajweed, and enjoys teaching, interpreting and translating.