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Dad's Grocery Run
By Julie Arduini

"Diapers. Check. Formula. Check. Diaper bag, check. Alrighty, I think all systems are clear."

Brad Simmons placed the items he needed on the couch, including his nine-week-old. Courtney gave him a coo and a look that appeared to be one of trust. He let out a nervous laugh, holding her just in case she started to roll.

"Daddy, I thought we were getting grosheries."

Four-year-old Christy jumped from behind the couch. Brad tried not to jump and startle Courtney.

"We are honey. I'm trying to get everything ready. Say Chris...Mommy does this grocery thing every Friday morning?"

"Yep, right affer my swim time at the Y."

Courtney's eyes darted over to her big sister. Brad smiled and looked at his watch. The face was splattered with spit up. Trish was due back from her girls' event after dinner. He had assured his weary wife she needed the break, and he could handle it. He didn't have long to get groceries, bathe the girls, clean the house and appear like everything was under control during her absence.

"Daaaadddy! Look, Courtney's pooping. She has the look!"

Brad turned his head back to his bald princess. Brad knew the look, intimately, after this week. His brown eyes bulged as liquid green seeped out of her size two diaper and onto Trish's grandmother's brown leather couch.

"No! Christy put a hand near your sister so she doesn't roll. Oh man!"

Brad dashed to the trashed kitchen to grab the last two paper towels. Trish had replaced the roll before leaving. Where on Earth did all the towels go?

"Oooohhhh Mommy is gonna be mad..."

Christy stared at baby sister's leaking diaper.

"I'm comin', I'm comin'"

Brad threw the towels between Christy's hand and Courtney's behind. The towels were no match for baby doo. His hand instantly felt warm and wet. This was not the same pleasurable feeling as gutting a fish. Not one bit.

Fifteen minutes later the couch reeked of Lysol, the baby was in her last clean diaper, and Courtney was running around with the empty paper towel roll. Brad packed the diaper bag and announced it was time to go.

"Got the list, Dad?" Courtney asked, hitting her dad with the roll as she ran by.

Brad groaned. "Oh Lord, help me. Where did I put it?"

The girls ignored him, and Brad felt like the Lord was too. He snapped Courtney in the baby carrier and found the list in the seat. He lifted up a whispered thanks and headed to Trish's van.

"I want donuts!"

Brad buckled Christy in her booster seat and bit his lip. Trish specifically asked that he feed them toast, cereal and fruit for breakfast in her absence. Donuts were a lot easier, especially after three hours of sleep.

"Honey we have to use Mommy's list."

"I want donuts!"

Christy pitched her voice up an octave which in effect triggered Courtney and drowned out Barney on CD. Brad wondered if all that noise would cover his own tears. Before putting the van in reverse he placed his head on the steering wheel and prayed.

'Lord, I need your strength right now. I can manage a team of twenty and I am absolutely defenseless in my own home. Help me get to the grocery store. I need Your help big time.'

Miraculously, the girls quieted down once Barney started singing about peanut butter and jelly. The trip to the store was incident free and Brad placed Christy's car seat securely on the grocery cart.

"Got the list, Dad?"

Brad pulled a wrinkled sheet with Trish's crisp writing out of the diaper bag. Christy gave him thumbs up and started to climb in the cart. Brad reached around and balanced her.

"You can do it, there you go; this is cake. Great job!"

Brad smiled as he spoke. An elderly woman with a twinkle in her eye grinned Brad's way.

"Young man it does my heart good to see a dad encourage his child."

Brad gave the senior woman a quizzical look, and then it hit him. He was helping Christy in the cart when the woman saw him speaking. Brad felt his confidence wilt just a tad with the truth of the situation.

"Thanks ma'am, but I confess I wasn't talking to my daughter. I was giving myself a pep talk. This is my first shopping trip with both kids, and my wife is out of town."
JULIE ARDUINI is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. Happily married to Tom, they have two children: Brian and Hannah. To read more by Julie, visit her weblog at http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/