Thursday, April 19, 2012
Spring break around these parts was a couple of weeks ago. Because of a long-planned for, much anticipated, three-week camping trip "out west" this coming summer, we had no travel plans. My children lamented this fact, as we live in an area of affluence. Most of their friends had exotic trips plannned: skiing, cruises and the like. We went to the Natural History Museum.
Oh, and the mall. Did I mention the mall? My 12 year old, who rates shopping right up there with a visit to the allergist, announced that she and her friend would like to go to the mall during spring break. B has not yet developed much of an interest in boys and while she takes care with her appearance (usually), she is more into tailored than ruffles, blues over pinks and absolutely nothing too "girly". Moreover, she hates perfume ("It maks my nose itch!") and loud music ("It gives me a headache.") and crowds ("They make me feel claustrophobic!"). I was shocked.
As a family, we are not big shoppers, other than a monthly Costco excursion. I spend as little time in malls as I can. I find them exhausting. Now, that is. I used to looove malls. I used to shop as a competitive sport, but those days are long gone.
Still, I was surprised at her request.
"Sure, I'll take you and Emma to the mall. Any place in particular that you want to go?"
"No, just wherever. I thought you could drop us off and come back and get us."
We live about half an hour from said mall, so that was unlikely.
"Well, I am happy to take you, but I'll probably just take A shopping and let you two go your own way. Will that work?"
"Sure. As long as A doesn't have to come with us."
(Of course. Goes without saying. Having your 10 year old sister with you would totally, I mean totally cramp your style.)
On the appointed day, at the appointed hour, we picked up the friend. B had her purse, which she never carries, bulging with cash she had been hoarding since her birthday in late December. I parked outside Nordstrom and we synchronized our watches. We would meet up in about 3 hours.
As much as B hates to shop, A relishes it. We took off immediately for the food court. She had to have an Auntie Anne's pretzel. Then we hit Claire's, which ate up a good hour and 15 minutes, since she had to examine each and every earring in the place. On to Bath and Body Works. Another hour went by as she smelled and tested all the lotions. A spends her money as fast as she gets it, so her bags were accumulating. As we trolled the mall, we passed by a store I had never been in: Hollister. I had heard of it, of course. I understood it to be a teen mecca of a similar ilk to Abercrombie.
"Mama, looook!" (She pointed.)
"At what, honey?"
"Over there. There's a giant picture of a naked dude at that store!"
(Damn straight there was. Holy moly!)
(Well, I wouldn't go that far.)
"I would never go in there! It's too creepy!"
(Hey, lifeguard, I need a little mouth-to-mouth over here.)
"I hope B doesn't go in there."
"She won't. The music is too loud."
"Yeah, you're right, Mom. B hates loud music."
We strolled and chatted happily until it was time to rendezvous.
I saw the tweens before they saw me. I saw only one bag.
"Hey girls! Did you have fun? Did anybody buy anything?"
B produced a bag, adorned with none other than Mr. Hollister.
"You went to Hollister?"
"Yeah. I didn't want to go in there at first because of that creepy picture, but Emma convinced me."
"So how bad was it?"
"Not bad once you got inside. Just LOUD."
"Show me what you got."
She pulled out a vivid turquoise zip-front hoodie with Hollister emblazoned down one sleeve in white letters. It was cute and a perfect color for her.
"Feel how soft it is! And it was on sale!"
"Good for you. I'm glad you found something you liked."
We headed for home, chatter and giggles filling the car. We dropped off the friend, pulled in the garage and got out.
"Where's your bag, B?"
"I'm not taking that thing inside. I threw it in the back of the minivan. That thing scares me!"
I shook my head and laughed as she ran inside, already wearing her new sweatshirt.
A couple of days later, the temperature dropped and someone needed a jacket to wear to school. A jacket that, it seems, had been carelessly tossed in the back of the minivan. As I retrieved it, I saw Mr. Hollister looking up at me. Smiling. On impulse, I rolled him up and shoved him in the jacket sleeve. As B came running out the door, heading for the bus which was pulling up out front, I tossed her the jacket.
"Here you go, honey. Have a great day!"
When she came home from school, she headed right upstairs to do homework. I didn't see her until dinner. She never mentioned my "surprise".
I couldn't help myself:
"How was your day?"
"Did you end up needing your jacket?"
"Was there anything unusual about it?"
(Oh, man, I hope he didn't fall out and get lost on the bus!)
"Yes, Mom. That was lovely, what you put in there."
I cracked up.
"I hope I didn't embarrass you too much."
I was howling.
"What did you do, Mom? How did you embarrass her?" A asked.
"I left a little reminder of our fun spring break in her jacket this morning."
I was laughing so hard.
"She put that Hollister bag in my coat! I went to put it on and I felt something in there. I had to hide it in my book bag!"
Tears ran down my face.
"Where is it now?"
"I threw it away! That thing creeps me out."
I wiped my eyes.
"You aren't mad at me, are you?"
That evening, after a late Pinterest session, I went up to bed. Hombre was sawing logs on his side of the bed. I pulled down the covers and took off the decorative pillow sham, only to see a smiling face.
Now it's war, baby!