The Day After

We are fat and lazy and tired today.

I went shopping with my mom for five hours today. I am exhausted, but I have very little left to buy–most I can do online.

In a little while we will be heading out to our friends for dinner and games and general tomfoolery.

Maybe tomorrow we will put up Christmas.

Grandma picking out a football. I laughed the whole time because according to Ralphie (of A Christmas Story), a football does NOT make a good Christmas present.

Grandma picking out a football. I laughed the whole time because according to Ralphie (of A Christmas Story), a football does NOT make a good Christmas present.

The Best Deal

I hate shopping.

I hate crowds.

Hence I should hate Black Friday shopping.

But I don’t. Well, I hated one Black Friday.

Normally I look forward to Black Friday, but not for the same reason most people do. I don’t get up at the butt crack of dawn to stand in line next to a pallet in WalMart hoping to score a TV for $3.  I don’t head out in the middle of the night to snag a deal at Target. I don’t camp out at Best Buy for steals on electronics.

Nope. I go with my mom, someone who also is not a fan of shopping.

Now don’t get me wrong. We both like buying things; we just don’t like to do the stereotypical girl shopping trip thing. Neither of us enjoys scouring racks of clothing for the “perfect” dress. We only go to stores when we need something.  Not just to “browse”. We are not browsers.

So anyway, we go Black Friday shopping every year.

We go around 9:30 long after the “crazies” have left the stores. We don’t go armed with tazers or ready to punch someone out over towels.  Armed with lists we planned out in the days before of exactly what we want to get for whom and what stores we need to go to, we start our yearly routine.

First we go to the dying mall in our town where we hit Younkers because everything in the whole store is always on sale. In fact, this year I got about $250 worth of items for under $100.  After Younkers (which takes about an hour), it’s time for a coffee/cookie break and usually a quick stop at Dunham’s for golf balls.

Then it’s time for the stand alone stores. We avoid Kohls at all costs because it breeds insanity. Instead we head to Shoe Carnival, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Barnes & Noble because they are all in the same strip. Barnes & Noble means an extended latte/pastry break where we re-evaluate our lists and chit chat.  Then I wander the store sniffing lusting over buying books for as many people as I possibly can.

The last stores we hit are Target and Michael’s because they are right next to each other. Michael’s is not a yearly stop, but this year we hit it up because it had inexpensive craft supplies for a certain 4-year old’s stocking.

Target is where the magic happens, as usual.

Our cart gets so loaded up that we have to do creative balancing acts to make it to the cashier without spilling doll strollers and jammies and holiday towels all over the aisles.

Then we head back to my house to unload, after which my mom goes on her way to attack her pile with wrapping paper, bows, and tags.

I usually collapse.

But this post isn’t really about the shopping we do. It’s a fun tradition, but these yearly shopping trips are more to me than they used to be.

I can’t remember not doing this with my mom. One year she invited my very VERY into shopping Grandmother (bless her soul) along. we never did that again. She looked at every. single. rack. in Younkers.  Twice.  I think I was in high school at the time, so add a browsing grandmother to my already angsty self? Yeah, it was a disaster.

But what I really love is that this year shopping trip is time for my mom and I to really spend quality time together.  No brothers or in-laws or dad or husband or kids.  No boys.

Just me and my mom.

As she and I discussed books over our lattes this year I realized something very sad.

There is a very real chance I will not ever have a daughter to do this with someday.  I may never have a mother-daughter relationship where I am the mother.

My mom and I joked in Target about an adorable dress that I am obsessed with and may have carried around with me every time I go into Target (what?).

My mom and I have had some tense times. I was not an easy child, teen, or young adult.

(I know. SHOCKING.)

(stop it.)

But I cherish our together time.

These shopping trips have taught me more about who she is than any other time spent together has. I’ve learned things about her growing up, about being married to my dad, about what it was like to have young kids in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

I’ve learned that while we come from very different generations, my mom and I share a very similar heart.

Our opinions and stances may differ, but underneath it all we are so very much the same.

That makes me happy.

In the midst of the mad commercialism of Black Friday, my mom and I smile and laugh and share our hearts.

Even Black Friday can’t give me a better deal than that.