It’s the end of a long, long day. My kids and I met my mother at the mall for lunch at P. F. Chang’s and a shopping marathon which involved visits to Nordstrom, Build-A-Bear, Claire’s Boutique, the mall’s play area, Starbucks, Fire & Ice, and Baby Gap. Lunch was basically me trying to placate my two year old son with carbs so that he would let the nice people two tables away enjoy their business lunch. We survived, just barely, because the nice waiters kept bringing us fortune cookies. We took our leftover shrimp lo mein and left with that sated feeling that only a whole lot of sugar can give you.
I convinced my mom to buy a cashmere sweater at Nordstrom because it was coral and half off. And then, on to Build-A-Bear. My little dude couldn’t really give a crap by the time we got there, it was past his nap time and he was on his way to Crazy Town. My three year old daughter doesn’t quite get the concept of money and the power to purchase and began grabbing everything she saw. She has a Build-A-Bear bunny from a while back and apparently felt the need to increase the bunny’s wardrobe by 200%. My mother kept repeating, “Let’s choose one outfit for your bunny.” The boy couldn’t have cared less about any of the stuffed animals unless he was allowed to pull them out of the bins and throw them on the floor, but I saw a soft, brown bunny and wanted it for him–and my mom wanted to get one for him–so we left the store with a soft, brown bunny and couple of outfits for both kids’ bunnies.
At Claire’s we found a headband with bunny ears for my daughter, who decided she needed such a headband when she saw a tiny one for the bears at the Build-A-Bear checkout. Then we took the kids to the play area in the mall, which is poorly ventilated and smells like the feet of a thousand filthy munchkins. My kids were happy to be with other kids, happy to run around and be allowed to climb on things, so I sucked it up and tried to trick myself into not being as disgusted as I felt. While my nostrils were continuously assaulted by the foul odors of dirty little piggies, I put on a happy face and chatted with my mom and other parents in the room. They either didn’t notice the awful smell or were very good at concealing their disgust. Needless to say, I was extraordinarily happy to get out of there.
Shoes and socks back on and hands thoroughly washed, we headed to Starbucks for some iced chamomile tea and a soft pretzel. My mom and I looked at some Roman glass at Fire & Ice but decided that we weren’t prepared to throw down hundreds of dollars on ourselves, not with my mom only one month into retirement and me being the mom of two young kids with expenses out the wazoo…but it was fun to look at the beautiful blue-green glass and the colorful patina, fun to think about where the glass might have been two thousand years ago with the Romans painted it.
Baby Gap. My mother generously offered to pay for some Easter outfits for the kids. I gratefully accepted. The kids were good sports as we tried various outfits on them. We found a couple things that fit with some room to grow, and we headed out. We had been at the mall for five hours and we were all tired as hell.
Back home I knew napping wasn’t an option, so I plunked the children in front of a movie and folded laundry, took care of the dishes, and heated up leftovers for dinner. My son was so crazed from fatigue by this time that he barely ate anything; he only fussed and slapped his head. I promptly brushed his teeth and shipped him off to bed.
The hubby got back from work, ate a quick bite, fed our two cats, gave my daughter a bath, and brushed her teeth while I relaxed for ten minutes. My daughter came out from her bath and announced that she wanted to relax with me. She wanted to draw on my phone, so I downloaded a kids coloring app, and this happened:
Today I was a part of the American consumer culture. Today I wondered if I wasn’t selling my soul by spending money in a temple of consumerism. Ahh, what the hell…I spent time with my mom and my kids and we had fun together. A few times, when we were dashing around here and there, I found myself getting tense, and then I remembered to breathe. If spiritual progress can be measured by one’s awareness of one’s breath, I could say I made spiritual progress today.
And I’m glad I could finish my day with a pink kitty on a swing. Icing on the cake.