Mary Oves
Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Mary Oves
A trip to the mall - and through life

I sacrificed an hour of my sons' soccer game to go to Macy's today.

I needed a lipstick and some mascara from the MAC counter, so I dragged my 8-year-old with me. He's easy to shop with. I let him play his iTouch, and steered him from place to place by placing my hand on his head.

He doesn't realize where he is, and this temporary memory loss is good. I can browse the sales racks without having to hear his complaining. We were in the car leaving, on our way to the soccer game, when he asked,

"Do we have to go to Macy's? I don't feel like it."

"We were just in Macy's, honey. We're leaving."

He looked up.

"Oh. Cool."

Ignorance is bliss.

Even when the boys were babies, I had creative ways of keeping them occupied while I shopped. A binkie, a bottle and their favorite blanket was enough to keep them happy and cooing for an hour. It would get us out of the house, and make me feel human. People always fussed over how cute they were. It was fun.

Then they learned to talk. "I want, I want, I want," or so the mantra went. A Mrs. Field's cookie, an Auntie Anne's pretzel, some juice and we were good to go. They were so cute that several stores even chose to overlook the fact that they drooled cinnamon all over the freshly vacuumed carpets.

Then they learned to walk, and developed opinions. They wanted no part of the stroller, so the only way I could keep them in there was to bribe them.

Enter Power Rangers and the Disney store. It was the first place we would hit. They'd get a "guy," and the twins would make up kill and destroy games, side by side in the double stroller. Still cute, still able to be fettered.

My husband fussed over how I spoiled them.

"They have more Power Rangers than any kids I know. How many do they need?"

What he didn't understand is the power of a mother's desire to get out of the house with her babies. I would have bought them a three-bedroom condo if it meant I could go to the Yankee Candle store.

Then came a time where no amount of pleading or begging would keep them from striking out on their own. They wanted to walk, dammit, and walk they would. They'd walk cockily through that mall like big boys, and promise to not leave my side. And they didn't.

It's different now. I can go in Victoria's Secret, and let them look at games in GameStop. I can go to Target, and get what I need while they browse the Lego section. I can give them money for the Food Court while I'm in Macy's; they call me on their cell phones to tell me where they are.

So it's different. I know that I can leave them home, and sometimes I let them.

But sometimes I force them to come with me. Not for punishment, but to relive those carefree days where we were four adventurers.

I give them $1 to ride the virtual rollercoaster.

I buy them cookies and pretzels.

We go in the Disney store and look at the Power Rangers.

Those were sweet days, and I understand when older women tell me to enjoy their ages. Enjoy that they like to do things with me still. Enjoy that you have to give them rides everywhere they want to go. Enjoy that when given a choice on a beautiful Saturday morning, they want to hang around the house and relax with you.

Make cookies, mom, they say. And can tonight be movie night? Can you make your good popcorn?

I love these days.


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