I buy almost all of my clothes online. Maybe you do too, especially if you’re a mom. It’s usually easier than real-life, brick-and-mortar shopping.
Every once in a while, though, I find myself in a women’s clothing store. Just like how every once in a while, I find myself in a gym. In the beginning, I’m laughably optimistic that things will go well. 😉
A few days ago, Anna and I were out and about. We were near a LOFT, so I decided we’d stop in. I needed a new dress for an upcoming event; maybe I could find one, quickly.
“What can I get, Mom?” Anna asked, as we walked into the store.
This is one of the (many) reasons I prefer online shopping. Nobody asks me, every other minute, what they’re getting too.
“If you behave,” I told Anna, “I’ll get you a treat at the store next door. A cookie, or a bagel.”
“I want some butter,” Anna decided.
“We’ll figure it out,” I promised.
“Whatever, honey.” I began thumbing through a rack of dresses. Here was an option. This one was a possibility too…
Anna collapsed onto the floor. “I’m bored, Mom. And I want my butter,” she added.
We were less than five minutes into our shopping excursion. “OK, I’ll try these things on,” I said. As Anna and I made our way to the dressing rooms, I grabbed some tops from the clearance section too.
Anna sighed. “You have so much stuff,” she grumbled. “Why don’t I get nothing?”
My turn to sigh. “That is such a lie, honey.” In our family of four, the girls are, by far, the best dressed, thanks to their generous grandmothers.
I shut our dressing room door. Anna loved the big mirror inside. She began smiling at her reflection.
Perfect. I set the pile of clothes down. Then I slipped out of my sweatshirt and leggings.
Anna chose that moment to throw open the dressing room door.
“Anna!” I lunged for the door and slammed it shut.
Anna was laughing. “Mom! Those ladies out there saw your underwear!”
I heard “those ladies out there” chuckle.
“Anna.” I sighed. “Don’t do that again. Please. Just…hang out.”
Anna touched my arm. “No problem, Mom. I’ll hang out right here.” She flopped onto her belly and kept watch from under the dressing room door.
Whatever—as long as she didn’t open it again.
I tried on the dress I liked best. Huh…a little snug. That was discouraging, but not entirely shocking. Maybe I could find the next size back outside. The other dress didn’t work…
“Mom…you’re…taking…forever.” Anna was tapping her hands against the floor.
“I’m almost done, just one more minute…” I reached for a top and pulled it on.
Anna craned her neck over at me and smiled. “You look beautiful, Mom.”
I smiled back. “Thanks, honey.” At least the oversized tunic fit, right?
Anna and I left the dressing room, and I found the dress I liked, in the next size. Wonderful. Time to pay.
At the register, the lady behind the counter placed my clothes in a bag and then gave Anna her own little bag stuffed with tissue paper, stickers and an unloaded gift card. “Because you did a great job helping your mommy,” she said.
Anna beamed. She showed me the gift card. “I got my own money, Mom,” she said.
I thanked the lady, and Anna and I walked over to the bagel shop next door. At the register there, Anna attempted to pay for her bagel (with butter on the side) and my coffee with her unloaded LOFT gift card. “You are so cute,” the young woman there told my 3-year-old.
Anna smiled. (For better or worse, this wasn’t the first time she’s heard this.) I handed over my actual credit card.
The two of us sat in a booth. Like many moms, I have a random assortment of necessities (wallet, lip balm) and oddities (the kids’ art projects, Dora the Explorer UNO cards) in my bag. I pulled out the UNO cards so that Anna and I could play a game while we waited.
After several games of UNO, Anna wondered, “Where’s my butter?”
It did seem as though the bagel shop was taking a while with our simple order. I asked someone if it might be ready soon. Whoops, they had misplaced the order, they said. A bagel with butter on the side? And a coffee?
I nodded patiently. Yes, that was all we needed.
“This is taking forever,” Anna noted.
At last, we had our order. I sipped some coffee. Anna leaned across the table. “Mom. I have to go to the potty.”
I looked at her. “Really?”
Anna nodded. “Really, Mom.”
“Can you wait a few minutes?”
“I need to tinkle right now, Mom!”
I set my coffee down and grabbed Anna’s hand. There was a couple nearby. “Excuse me,” I said, gesturing to our booth full of bags, jackets and UNO cards. “Could you keep an eye on our things while we…”
“Mom, I need to tinkle!”
The couple smiled in understanding. “No problem.”
Great. Anna and I hurried to the restroom.
I helped Anna, and then told her I needed to use the restroom too. “Don’t touch the door,” I said.
“Because you don’t want people to see your underwear?”
Anna smiled. “Don’t worry, Mom. I won’t.”
I hoped I could trust her.
Everything takes longer than usual with kids in tow. Eventually, we returned to our booth. Anna ate most of her bagel. I finished all my coffee. We drove home.
All in all, a mostly successful clothes shopping adventure with my daughter.
When my older daughter, however, found out that her little sister now had her own “credit card,” she wondered why I hadn’t thought to get her something too. “Geez, Mom,” Grace grumbled.
“I’m sure Anna will share with you,” I said.
Anna shook her head. “No, I won’t.”
I frowned at Anna. Grace frowned at me.
Anna smiled at both of us.
You can’t win them all, friends.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short fiction e-book, “What Happens Next.” A story that’s heartfelt, relevant and can’t-put-it-down good.