Sometimes I plan my day and when it’s over, I look back and find that it doesn't even resemble the day I had imagined for myself. I’ve been wondering for years: Why is that?
Funny thing is – everyone seems to know the answer but me. And they don't hesitate to tell me, “Your problem is – you can’t say, ‘No’.”
Hmmm... I can’t deny it, especially when it comes to my grandchildren.
I had errands to run today, was planning to get my hair done, do a little housework and write. I always write! But my daughter delivered Carson, my 12 year-old granddaughter to my house on her way to work. She often stays with us while her mother works. With her I-phone to keep her busy recording songs and talking to friends, along with practicing cheers and gymnastics in my family room, she’s not much trouble.
But today, she had other plans. For both of us. She wanted me to take her shopping for school clothes. This is definitely not on my list of most favorite things to do! I endured that for many years with my three daughters. It is grueling!
I gave her every excuse I could think of: I was tired. Didn’t’ get enough sleep last night. Had a headache. Had other things to do. And finally, I just plain didn’t want to do it! But for every excuse I had, she had two reasons why we should go: there were great sales today and tomorrow, we’d have to pay full price for everything by Sunday. The stores will be more crowded over the weekend, all the good clothes will be gone – “especially my size” (0 or 1)! Her mom would be too tired to go after working all day... and on and on and on.
I made my case and then ignored her. She sulked. I stood my ground! She’s right, you know, my conscience said. There’s not much time left. School starts in a week. It would really help her mother out. Everything you were going to do can be put off for a day or two.
I was ready in about an hour and we set out for a mall about thirty minutes away. It was a beautiful sunny day. We chatted, listened to music and enjoyed the time together.
Once we were in a parking space, there was no holding Carson back. She jumped out of the car and walked so fast, I couldn’t keep up with her. She knew exactly where she was going and wanted to get there. Fast!
Inside her favorite store, there was nothing for me to do but stand around waiting. In no time at all, she had gathered up an armload of jeans, shirts, sweatpants and other items and was heading for a dressing room. She motioned for me because there was a chair where I could sit and rest. I was ready!
Watching this 12 year old try on clothes took me back to a time when I could put on anything and look good in it, too. Those days are gone forever! After about 50, most of us hate fitting rooms and mirrors. Especially mirrors! It’s always so disappointing to see something you really like on the hanger or model and then try it on to find it doesn’t look like the same outfit on you! I don’t buy many clothes for that reason. Trying them on is just too depressing!
So... we got in line to pay for our purchases. I was thinking – This wasn’t so bad. Now, we’ll get shoes and head home, when Carson said excitedly, “Only three more places to go!”
“Huh?” I said. “Yeah, I have to get a few things at (store A), a bag for my books at (store B), and a pair of shoes to start school in at (store C)... and maybe another pair... for later.” I said, “Let’s get a bite to eat and rest a few minutes and then finish.” She nodded. But that didn’t work out well for me. I suppose most malls have a food court where you get what you want and take it to a table to eat. No fancy food or service here. Just a quick bite for weary shoppers like me who need something to keep them going a while longer.
Carson chose Chick-fil-A – a place I’d never eaten and wasn’t sure I wanted to, but I needed something, mostly to drink and rest, so Chick-fil-A it was. She opted for a Kid’s Meal – chicken nuggets, fries, and drink. I’m sure there must be an age limit on the Kid’s Meal, but the waitress didn’t say anything – so I ordered one, too! Oh, yes I did! I didn’t see a thing on the menu I wanted, so I deduced that, at least, Carson would eat it if I didn’t want it.
When we got our food, we found a table and opened our bags to find that not only did we both have a prize inside... a small book (I love books!)... but also, while Carson had ordered sweet tea, I hadn’t, so I had a juice box - with apple juice in it. It had a little straw attached to the side and everything! I’d seen them before, but never had one. I love new and exciting experiences!
Carson giggled the whole time we were eating. She was certain people were staring at me. I told her if they were, they were just jealous because they didn’t get a book.
Fortified with chicken nuggets and apple juice, I was able to withstand visiting the three stores she had left. After finding most everything she wanted, she finished with a pair of white tennis shoes for which she added a little something extra – a pair of neon yellow shoestrings. Finally! She was happy and ready to go home. And it wasn't even dark yet.
In the car, she phoned her mother to tell her all about her purchases and how much fun we’d had. Giggling, she told her in detail about my having a Kid’s Meal. I truly don’t know why that was so amusing.
About half-way home, she said, “You know, if you aren’t too tired, we could go to Wal-Mart and get my school supplies.”
Without a word, I drove straight to her house. I helped get the packages out of the trunk, hugged her and drove away as fast as I could – before she could start telling me all the good reasons to go to Wal-Mart!