Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.
-- Erma Bombeck
This quote came to mind this past weekend as I took my Samantha and Madison on a mommy-time outing while the boys were at the golf course for the day. I had a picture in my mind of how this day was going to play out…….and I, once again, was surprised at the fact that nothing EVER goes how it is planned, especially with me, especially with children!
The girls and I ate breakfast at I-HOP (thinking at least Madison would eat free, but nooooo, they eat free starting at 4pm! Oh well), chatted with them about school year starting, trying really hard to just enjoy the time with them………
BTW, why is it (at least for me) that being “in the moment” is so incredibly hard… it’s like my mind instantly goes to all of the things I need to get done or how much money is this going to cost me or any of the crazy thoughts that are blasting through my head at the time when I should (HATE THAT WORD) be sitting and listening and enjoying a moment with my two incredible daughters……
And then…..we went shopping……..ugh!......for a teenager – UGH!.....who has the decision making ability that has been passed down through generations of women in my family, which if you’ve ever been through a shopping experience with us, I promise you will end the time pulling your hair out, stomping your feet, and shouting at the top of your lungs in the middle of a crowded store: “JUST MAKE A F**** DECISION ALREADY!!”……..so after 5 stores with nothing in our hands, we decide to brave the Tax-Free Weekend crowds (thank you Texas Legislature) and head to the mall (I know what you’re thinking, but having no “give-me-the-patience-of-God” pills, I could not face the trauma of taking this teenager home without a single item of clothing!).
We head in………start fighting for breathing space among the numerous women and children (very few dads were seen at this adventurous outing….wonder why????)
Little side note: To all of the dads/brothers/uncles/selfish household members sitting at home in front of the TV on Saturday mornings or out playing with your “buddies”, I would like to give you a few hurtful reminders to be more helpful with the women of your children as they tolerate shopping with toddlers!!, so here are your due pains:
.....a bleeding eardrum from the many screams and wails of a child that has to carried because they don’t want to stay in their stroller and they most definitely DO NOT want to be held,
.....a vice on your head that somehow continues to tighten throughout the day leaving you with such a pain in your head that you can no longer organize a simple thought,
.....shoes that have begun to grow thorns because of the pain endured from walking and standing and chasing a bawling 2-year old,
.....and finally, a horrendous stomach-ache caused by a growing ulcer due to the continual stress of taking too many children shopping for hours on end because there is no one at home who will volunteer to watch these children!!
Ok...I’m done with that...
On to my point...I was getting there...during this escapade, we happened to find a few jeans, capris and shirts for Sam to try on...after rummaging through pile of clothes that had been tossed in various piles around the store...which happens when you’re shopping on Tax-Free Weekend when people seem to lose the capacity of putting items back onto hangers or actually folded on a shelf, and forget seeing anyone with a smile or any semblance of friendliness....
DO NOT expect ANY gracious attitudes! They are there to SHOP and SHOP and SHOP! And they will have no problem ripping that shirt out of your hands, hurling it at their child to go try it on, and pushing you out of the way with their over-stocked stroller…all before you even had a chance to check the size!!
So after the 45 minutes of assessing the clothing inventory (I think we were the slowest moving bunch……probably because I was scared one of my children was going to get run over and left for dead!) I had Sam go try on the clothes...simple, right?......well not today! We get to the fitting rooms and find that not only is there a line to get in, but the line contains about 15 other women/girls/teenagers/crying toddlers!
Not to be deterred, I tell Sam to get in line while I go look for some more for her to try on so we don’t have to negotiate a place in the line again. So Madison and I set off to hunt for more clothes.
This is when my Madison takes this opportunity into her own hands and begins to make her “case” for the “need” of additional clothes. I can tell that throughout this shopping experience, she has been contemplating this conversation for just this opportunity when older sister is not around to dissuade me from using her cash cow (me).
I take a deep breath, listen to her pleading and reasoning, take another deep breath, look her straight in the eyes and say “no”. No explanation (having given 100 already), no soft, warm, comforting words to let her down (again) nicely, just a “no”. Because I knew that if I kept to the one word, I would allow myself to stay in that peaceful, patient place where I wouldn’t lose control, scream at my innocent child, be rude and insulting to the people around me for staring at this psychotic woman that is having a major breakdown in the middle of the store. (Yeah me!!)
And you know what she did? Simply turned around, proceeded to pick up 2 shirts she thought Sam would like, and continued to walk to the fitting room with me. Can you believe it?? No groans, moans, roll-of-the-eyes, or terrible attitude! So after 5 minutes…..I thanked her for having such a great attitude when she didn’t get her way and then…….I told her she could pick out any new backpack that she wanted! (Yeah me!!) I LOVE the face on my children when they get a surprise that they had wanted!
So………heading back to the fitting rooms, I pass the people standing in line, go inside and around the corner, and find Samantha STILL in line because the line extends INSIDE the rooms!!!! Thankfully she was the next one to go in!
After leaning on a clothing rack, lifting a foot every now and then to help my aching feet get some circulation flowing, being stared at by various people (probably wondering why my child is sitting on the floor - out of the way of people because of her complaining feet), 15 minutes pass by and Samantha exits the rooms with a pair of jeans, shorts and a shirt…..DONE!!!
I won’t bother with the details of the check-out line, except to say that I think we had the most wonderful, happy, energetic cashier ring us up which was such an unexpected surprise given that she had been standing there listening to whines, screams and complains all day! And that’s just the children, I can’t imagine what she had to endure from the adults!! I was very grateful for her demeanor and should probably go back and give her some chocolate!!
And so ends my day out with my incredible and amazing girls who are truly a blessing to me each and every day. I am extremely thankful that I have these moments to share with them, even though they may remember the psychotic and embarrassing side, at least they’re shared memories.
May I never take any of it for granted!