It’s the Little Things

A couple of months ago my young-adult son asked us if he could stay with us for a few months during a transition. He was going from “A” to “B” and needed a place to live just for a few months; of course we said “Yes”. He is our oldest and the first to leave the nest. It’s been wonderful to have all four of us under the same roof again. During his stay he has helped out with food and cleaning the house to lessen to the burden of his visit. We raised him well. *face glowing with pride*

However, After about two weeks of his stay I was starting to notice little signs, little clues into a past life that I had so quickly forgotten. Cleaning the bathroom one Saturday morning, I noticed that there was an empty roll of toilet paper on the holder. Now, mom’s everywhere know that there is no place on this beautiful planet, no matter how wonderful your kids and husbands may be, where we can escape from this sight: a lonely brown tube of cardboard with just the smallest piece of white tissue dangling down, the glue that held the roll together now exposed and vulnerable. A little sad really. Without blinking I went to the linen closet to find a replacement. Looking, looking, looking…
“Hey did someone move the toilet paper?” Odd looks are all I get in return. “Where’s the toilet paper?”
My daughter walks by, “Do you have it in your room?”
“WHY would I have toilet paper in my room, mom?”
“I don’t know that’s why I asked.”

Somehow, four times quicker than I could account for, we blazed through our toilet paper. Having that one extra person in the home made a big difference on the little items we all used in our daily lives. I would blink and *bam* out of toothpaste, blink- out of laundry detergent, blink- out of milk, blink- the car’s out of gas. My lord, I need to stop blinking!

My son had been gone a few years and honestly I had forgotten what it took -material wise- to keep a family of four going. On top of having to buy our toiletries in bulk again, I also started to get the big family packs of meat, rice and vegetables. Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks: groceries are freakin’ expensive! I knew this of course, but had forgotten how expensive it was to buy groceries for our whole family. The weekday meals were a little easier because everyone is out and about; the weekends meant breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for four people for two days. Can you say crock pot? It’s been an eye opening experience to say the least.

Soon it will be down to just the three of us, and by summers end it will be only my husband and I. I’m wondering how our grocery shopping will change. Will I still buy in bulk? Will there be a 42 pack of toilet paper sitting in my closet for a month, collecting dust? As my kids enter and re-enter the world change is certain for them; exciting wonderful change! For me, it’ll mean more hot water, more gas in my tank, and… dusty toilet paper.

Published by Shannon Laws

Like my writing? Want to hear me read my poetry? Please visit and download some today. Only $1.00 a poem! Shannon Laws is a Pacific Northwest poet, voice-over talent, and podcast producer. She is the author of four poetry books, the most recent “Fallen” published by Independent Writer’s Studio Press. Shannon has received two Mayor’s Arts Awards and the Community Champion Award for promoting local artists and encouraging peace and understanding through community poetry events. She makes her home in Bellingham, Washington, USA.

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