I pull into the parking lot. Melanie grins from ear to ear in her carseat. I scan the crowded parking lot for an empty space. Khol’s opened today, a major event for our small town. The Peebles closed because they don’t compete in a market where Khol’s is. “You are going to have to stay close to me and hold my hand, Melanie. I don’t want to lose you with all the people. It looks very busy.” “I will stay right next to you, Mommy. I have been waiting for new clothes.” She has been waiting, eagerly, for weeks. “Let’s go.”
Melanie skips along into the store, and I almost want to skip with her. I almost never get to spend one-on-one time with her. I usually feel like a crazed shepherd corralling mindless sheep who run off at any moment with the slightest provocation of their senses. But now I can dedicate some attention to Melanie, who used to be my only girl.
We arrive in her department, and she would be proud if she could see the growing size of her “owl eyes.” The displays beckon us in, and we look at each other with goofy grins, trying to decide where to begin. There are not many children here at the moment, and her section is pretty vacant. We end up surrounded by socks and underwear. “I definitely need new panties and socks, Mommy. We can never find socks for me.” We pick up some socks. She looks up and sees Disney character night gowns. She grabs Rapunzel and begs me for it. “I really want the wand, Mommy. Can I please have a wand?” All in the packaging, I give in. Rapunzel is one of her favorite characters. We move on to the dresses hanging on the wall next to us. She picks out five of them. I am distracted, performing complicated mental math with the markdowns and my 15% off coupon. I agree to the $15 dollar dresses. I justify to myself that we only go shopping a couple times a year. We pick up 2 fancy dresses and some knit tops and skirts from the 6.99 section and hurry off to the fitting room.
Melanie is wowed by the tree panel mirror. “We need mirrors like this at home, Mommy. We could see how beautiful we are three times.” “That would be nice.” Melanie soaks in everything, loves everything. She reads aloud the plaques on the wall: “Love it, Like it, Back to store…What do those mean?” “They are hooks for you to put the clothes on after you try them on.” “Well, we can put everything on the ‘Love it’ because I love them all. I picked them out and just love them.” I just chuckle. We get hung up on one dress in particular. She LOVES it, but I know my husband will kill me if I bring it home. It is a dress suited for Toddlers and Tiaras! We go back and forth on why she cannot have the pretty dress. She picks a more suitable Easter dress, and we are done.
We make our way to the register, and she picks out a new pair of sunglasses. “This has been lots of fun, Melanie. Thank you for behaving so well.” “Me too, Mommy. I love my clothes. We should do this all the time.” I laugh. “Let’s go show Daddy your new clothes.” “Yay!”
We arrive home to flaunt our spoils, and I hear Sylvia at the top of the stairs. She has just woken up from her nap. She sees and hears Melanie running to my husband with her large bag of clothes. Sylvia cries with joy “My clothes, my clothes!” Uh oh. I picked her up an Easter dress, but she was supposed to be sleeping still when we got back. I was going to take Sylvia out to get a few things later in the week, but now I realize my day is getting longer.
I reach into the bag and hand her the dress. She brushes it aside. She gleefuly reaches into the bag to pull out an item, and Melanie lunges for it. “No, Sylvia. These are mine. These are my new clothes. They are not for you. I am showing them to Daddy.” “No Melanie, for me. Mommy, for me. My clothes.” “No, Sylvia they are not yours. They are Melanie’s. Here is a dress for you.” “I don’t want it. I want my clothes.” It is a dress with a long coat. It is very pretty, but with the coat covering it up, it doesn’t fit her schema for “dress.” We take off the jacket, and she puts on the dress. She glares at the large pile of clothes Melanie has acquired. “Where’s my clothes?” she asks. “They are at the store. Would you like to go pick them out with me?” “Yay!” I hold up the jacket and point to the dress she is wearing. “Do you want to take that back and pick something different?” “Yes, take back. I want to pick.” I sigh as I begin to redress her. I go to the computer and print yet another coupon. I reach for a spoonful of peanut butter to sustain me, grab my purse, and venture off to Khol’s once again.
Sylvia is the silent type as we travel in the car. I look in the spy mirror and see her staring out the window. “Are you excited Sylvia?” “I so excited! I want to pick.” She has an enormous grin on her face. We get to the store, and she is a sight. She looks like she jumped out of a Fancy Nancy book. She is wearing a pink leopard print skirt, black polka dot jacket, pouffy purple hair clips, and sunglasses with bright red shoes to match. She carries the return items and hands them to the clerk, declaring “Take it back.” That was explanation enough for the clerk. We then walk back to her section, hand in hand. She stops people in their tracks as they move out of our way. I take her to the dresses on the wall, and she shrieks with joy, running towards the clothes. She looks over all the dresses and points to a white one at the top with flowers. I have to jump twice to knock her size off the bar. She then picks out a bug dress and a fruit dress. We walk to the Easter dresses, and she picks one out. She insists on carrying all four dresses in her arms and walks/trips towards the checkout area. The peanut gallery gives a commentary. “Teaching her young!” “Look at her clothes.” “Isn’t she cute.” “What a shopper!” I can’t help but smile.
As I drive home, I realize this is a dream come true. I dreamed of shopping with my girls and loved every minute of it. I love seeing their personal styles. I love to see their likes and dislikes. I love to see the smiles on their faces as they carry their clothes. I dream of taking Danielle shopping. I dream of a day at the mall with my girls. Will we go to shops all day long? Will we eat lunch at a restaurant? Will we search for the perfect pair of shoes to go with the outfit one of us had to have? Between the four of us, I could have one worn out credit card by day’s end, but it sure will be fun!