Maybe two months ago I turned around in the car and asked the kids how they wanted to spend the afternoon that stretched before us. Little Missy’s shoulders melted into the seat behind her, she got a sheepish look on her face and said, “I don’t know, maybe go to the mall?”
I tried not to laugh--I mean, I don’t think I laughed--but the last time we’d gone to the mall the kids groaned at the outset, as they had every time since realizing what “going to the mall meant.” Truly, all reasonable children should have such a reaction. The mall is a place for mommy to bark at them to Get out of people’s ways and to Keep up, please!
“And what do you want to do at the mall, sweetie?” I asked as I tried to wrap my mind around this 180 degree change in her attitude toward shopping.
“Mmmm… I don’t know. Walk around?” she responded, still with the sheepish grin.
And in my mind’s eye I could see a group of her friends talking on the playground about how it’s fun to walk around at the mall, because the influence of her friends is the only place she could have arrived at such an idea of what is fun.
G groaned. Logically so. “Oh no, not the mall.” And another separation between the siblings who once did everything together. Added to the list of video games and coloring and Harry Potter that they don’t enjoy participating in together.
So. That was then. And on President’s Day, when the kids were off from school, Little Missy and I made it to the mall by ourselves, to just… I don’t know. Walk around. As a cute little girl once put it.
With no real goal in mind we held hands and she chattered. As we made our way to Forever 21 she stopped and the sheepish grin popped back onto her face. “I’m just getting so distracted by Justice!”
A store we’ve been in once, ever, when Hubby and G tried to hide their grumbles while simultaneously trying to avoid the neon clothes stuffed in every inch of the store.
I looked down at the cutie pie. “Do you want to go in Justice?”
So we entered the store on a huge sale day--she to the journals and water bottles, me to the extraordinarily marked down shirts. I kept my eye on her and we’d meet up every few minutes to discuss whether she wanted the blue journal with the “M” initial or the zebra print journal with “M” initial. We eventually paid and somehow made it out of the madness with happiness intact, but I can tell you that some other moms did not fare as well and instead griped to no one in particular about that store.
Little Missy and I left hand in hand, jittery from the adrenaline that such cheap, happy and unplanned purchases brings. Then we walked to the candy store, picked some out for everyone in the family, and ate our share at a table in the middle of the food court.
I go through this internal battle when I think about shopping with my daughters, about how I don’t want them to become materialistic or think clothes are what will make them happy, but sometimes it is just plain fun to buy clothes that you sort of need and journals that you definitely do and spend an afternoon just grinning.