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Grocery shopping. Ugh.

Seriously, shopping for food requires lots of work — loading the shopping cart, unloading at checkout, bagging the merchandise if doing self-checkout (or shopping at Aldi), loading the bags into the car, unloading the car and — finally! — putting it all away at home.

Whew! Mission accomplished, let’s eat the takeout picked up on the way home! Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t picked up prepared food following a shopping excursion? (Several social media memes reflect this idea. Lol)

I went grocery shopping Monday evening with my son while my daughter attended a dance lesson. He doesn’t mind shopping; in fact, he likes to help.

One of Jacob’s favorite things to do when we shop at Aldi is retrieve and return the shopping cart. For those unaware, one must pop a quarter into a mechanism on the cart to unlock it from the link of carts alongside the store. It might seem inconvenient, but it proves practical — no stranded carts in the parking lot taking up space or bumping and damaging cars. When you return the cart, simply link the cart and get your quarter back.

I watched my son happily take the quarter I gave him to get the cart. After we loaded the trunk, he skipped across the lot to return the cart, happily ran back to the car and put the quarter in its trusty spot.

As he ran, I watched his little feet and wondered how many more years he will enjoy these shopping trips. There will come a day when going shopping with mom won’t be fun anymore — or the cool thing to do.

Thinking ahead to this weekend, Jacob and I will attend an inaugural Valentine’s Day dance for fathers/daughters and mothers/sons in elementary school up to fifth grade. My daughter attends a similar dance with her dad through the Girl Scouts annually, so I decided it was Jacob’s turn to experience such an event.

When we went to pick up the tickets for the dance, some of the employees at the sponsoring organization’s office chuckled about moms planning to attend with their fifth-grade boys. Some of the boys are at the “Oh, mom!” stage and, well, may feel a little funny about going with mom. Hearing that, I wondered again “how much longer” my cuddly mother/son moments will last.

I’ll keep wondering, but also keep savoring each time he shops, holds my hand or sits to chat or read a story with me.