Last week Martin and I stopped by a Whole Foods Market. Our shopping list had only a few items. I expected a short visit.
On the way into the store I asked Martin whether he’d rather ride in the cart or walk. I offer this alternative every time we enter a supermarket, and invariably Martin replies that he prefers to ride. He is not inclined to exert himself for activities that lack excitement or flair.
Except, apparently, for yesterday, when he replied: “I want to walk.”
“You do? You’re sure? You want to walk?” I said. Martin’s wanting to try something new is always cause for celebration, but I was not without trepidation. Martin dawdles. He wanders. He begs to be picked up when I’m trying to get groceries in the cart. He surreptitiously grabs colorful packages off shelves, and I find the packages still clutched in his little fist two aisles later, or after we’ve left the store.
“Yes.” Martin stayed firm. He wanted to walk.
Every day a new adventure.
I pushed the cart to the beverage cooler. Martin strolled beside me, even set his right hand on the cart. I selected kombucha and coconut water. Martin remarked, “That’s kombucha,” as I loaded the bottles.
I pushed the cart to the cheese counter. Martin followed, no more than a few feet behind me. I selected brie and Roquefort. (Adrian eats cheese.) Martin looked over the selections and said, “I want something to eat.”
The request seemed reasonable. We were, after all, surrounded by food. So I headed to the olive bar for a small container of pitted olives, showed them to Martin, and said he could eat them in the café area after we finished shopping. He clapped his hands.
From there we perused the options for a birthday cake, selected crackers for Adrian’s cheeses, and checked the Whole Body section for organic socks. Martin stayed within five feet of me and didn’t try any shenanigans. We even faced an extraordinary test: When I couldn’t find the bakery counter (it wasn’t my usual Whole Foods), I asked an employee, who said, “Follow me,” and headed off. I was worried that I would not be able to follow him while also keeping Martin with me, because pushing the grocery cart meant I couldn’t hold Martin’s hand. Martin, however, was up for the test. He trotted right behind me, even picked up his pace to match mine.
Even if it was only a short visit to the supermarket, Martin walked, and that’s another first. After check-out we sat together in the café area.
I said, “That was really good, Martin, the way you stayed so close to me while we were shopping.”
Martin giggled and popped an olive in his mouth. That was all the response he gave, but I think he got my drift. I think he was with me.