In the summer of 2015, I reached a level of busy that I previously hadn’t thought was possible. I was working two part-time jobs, taking summer classes, and helping out my newly-single sister by babysitting her kids whenever I had a spare moment, which wasn’t often. From five in the morning until ten at night, I was on the go. I spent so little time in my apartment that I didn’t even bother to decorate it. What was the point? It was just a place to sleep. If I wasn’t working my desk job I was working my waitressing job, or I was in class, or I was at the library studying, or I was at my sister’s house trying to feed her toddler while her four-year-old ran around the room pretending to be an airplane.
Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly eating right. Breakfast was usually coffee and a protein bar, or dry cereal eaten by the fistful. Lunch depended on where I was that day, but more often than not it was fast food, because it was cheap and easy to find. I worked my waitressing job at night, so dinner was usually whatever I could get at work (and it was chain restaurant, so it was a lot of fried food). I never had groceries at my apartment, so if I miraculously found myself home during a meal, that meal was take-out. Consequently, I was always tired. Sure, that might have had something to do with not getting enough sleep – or any real exercise – but part of me knew the lack of vegetables had to have something to do with it.
My sister was the one who finally set me straight. She came home from work to find me standing in her kitchen, eating a cold piece of pizza in front of the open refrigerator, and said Katie, honey, put that down, I’ll make us something real.
Unfortunately, as a recently-divorced single mother raising two kids under five and working full-time, Jill didn’t exactly have a whole lot of extra grocery shopping time either. We scrounged through her fridge and found a few dried up carrots, a stalk of browning broccoli, and a couple of eggs in a nearly-empty carton. As we ate our sad little omelet, we daydreamed about the food we would make if we had the time. Chicken cacciatore, I said. Like Mom used to make.
Pan-seared salmon, Jill offered, closing her eyes while she imagined it. With a kale salad. And a crusty loaf of bread, that I baked myself.
We both laughed, but it was sad laughter. It was somewhat defeated laughter. Life was tough for both of us, but especially for her. She never thought she’d be divorcing her husband and going it alone at thirty-two, with two little kids and almost no support system. I was the only family she had in the area, and I was working and going to school. I did what I could, but she needed more than someone to watch the kids in the evenings. She needed a partner. Someone to share everything with, including grocery shopping. I couldn’t be that person for her, and she didn’t expect me to be.
Since then, things have gotten better. I moved in with my sister and quit my waitressing job, so I have more time to watch the kids and I’m not paying rent on an apartment where I really only slept. I graduate next spring, with a degree that is guaranteed to open some doors for me. Both of us have more time now to shop, and to eat better. But I always think back to that summer, and how much easier life would have been if we’d known about the services offered by Milk & Eggs. Fresh, healthy meat, produce and other groceries straight from the farm, delivered to our door? Jill and I would have been in heaven. Especially looking at their prices – they cut out the middle man and make their groceries infinitely affordable, and they offer free delivery. I can’t even comprehend how much that would have saved us back then. If you’re like I was, are you using Milk & Eggs yet? If not, why not?
Overworked and Under-Nourished by Kate Berger
A joyful heart in a broken world. Proverbs 17:22