I’ve been waking up every night at 2am like clock work. This morning I decided I’d get up and do some laundry. I did a couple of loads and scrolled through Facebook. I headed back to bed about 4am and slept until 6:30. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, the weather, or the fact that Mother Nature feels that I still need a period at 42years old, but today did not start out fantastic.
I’ve got the best friends around. They understand that this time of year is hard. They are well aware of the things that have knocked me down this year. We were planning a mini vacation. A small girls getaway. I would love nothing more than to sit on a beach, in the sun with a drink and the best friends around. Unfortunately the dates didn’t work for me. I am a mom and being gone on Addie’s birthday wasn’t an option. The sadness in her eyes made it clear. I put on a brave face and told her I’d be here, and I can go on vacation anytime. When inside I wanted to scream, kick and cry. I understand how moms suddenly disappear. I’m not going anywhere, all I’m saying is I understand.
Chuck and I have been planning to wrap up Christmas shopping today. I thought I was done but the kids made it clear that Christmas Eve pajamas is a tradition. It’s one that we started years ago and apparently can’t skip. Every Christmas Eve they get 1 present from us, which is always pajamas, and then they get to exchange their sibling gifts. We all sit around and Chuck reads ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”. No matter how old they get, they love it. At least I was going to get out of the house today.
Whenever I’m not feeling my best, I get ready. I get ready like I’m going to the damn prom. I do my hair, makeup, wear something that makes me feel sassy, and put on my earrings. Earrings are like my super hero cape. It’s the last thing that goes on, and there’s always a moment of pause in the mirror when I’m done. I’ll mentally recite some self reassurance quote that popped up on Pinterest and the world will be right again. At least, until it’s not.
Chuck and I took our signature “honey seriously is that how you smile” photo and we were off. He really is a good sport. I will never apologize for capturing as much as possible in photos. I took photos when you had to wait days for them to develop. Shit, i’m not convinced that I didn’t invent the selfie 25 years ago. Photos are priceless memories that share stories for years to come.
We started out at JcPenny. It was pouring rain as we pulled in. Chuck refuses to drive my car. He is terrified that he will be the first one to dent it. I parked, and as I watched him come around to the drivers door with the umbrella, I wondered how many other women get that kind of treatment? How many husbands still do that? Mine doesn’t think twice.
JcPenny wasn’t bad. Got a few things and then ventured out into the mall. A few stores were closed which I found odd for a Saturday. The Apple store was one of them. Doors locked, not a soul inside. A bit eerie actually. We walked down to Macy’s. I could tell I was starting to weary as I was looking for pajamas for the kids. They had a slim selection, it was hot as hell and my defense mechanism is flight. We left with nothing. I figured we could try Sams club next. Why I thought heading to Sams club was a good idea is beyond me, but it turns out I was full of bad ideas today.
As soon as we walked into Sams club I should have known. Instantly had that feeling like you are in a heard of cattle. Moving slowly down the isle in the same direction. Then it happened. Over the loud speaker some guy announcing a promo for a free gift. He was loud and continuous. I tied to focus, unfortunately the clothing area was right by isle 24 and 25, the free gift isles. Now I try to be a good person but people lining up for free stuff usually cracks me. When Covid killed the “tasters” at Costco I was so happy. No more people losing their damn minds for a BBQ meatball. It’s not just because I’m a germaphobe. It’s because they lose all common sense. They park their cart in the middle of the isle, to go stand and read the bag pretending they are actually going to buy it so they don’t feel guilty. Rant over, anyway back to Sams club. I was standing trying to look at pajamas and it hit me like a brick. We needed to go. My heart started racing, my lungs struggling to get air through that damn mask on my face. Chuck never goes far, especially in those situations. He made eye contact, and he knew. We needed to bail. I felt bad but he didn’t care. He reassured me that there really was nothing we needed there anyway. As we walked to the car I suggested a trip to Walmart. What in the hell was I thinking?
Walmart started out fantastic right out of the gate. I turned the wrong way down the isle in the parking lot. I hate people like me. I jetted across the isles to make it look purposeful. As we were walking in I could see people looking at me. At first I thought they were probably thinking how sweet it is that he covers me with the umbrella, and then I realized when we stepped in, and I just stood there waiting for him to wipe down a cart, that they probably thought I was a bit extra. He always wipes down my cart. I stand there as he wipes the handle and the spot my purse goes. Holy shit as I’m writing this I’m realizing I am indeed, a bit extra.
Walmart actually wasn’t to bad in the clothing sections. Got pajamas for the rest of the family. Now the only one left is me. That’s easy, any granny gown will do. It’s actually a running joke. For Christmas this year I have all of these grand ideas, like decorating gingerbread houses. Well let me tell you, there are too many options. Prebuilt, cottages, dog houses, trains and now small villages. There I stood panicked. Chuck was trying to be logical and ask me questions to help narrow it down. He really should know by now that logical and I don’t mix well. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier if he would just make the decision. Pick the damn gingerbread houses and throw them in the cart and say “move on woman”. He doesn’t though, we really need to work on that. As we walked toward the check out I saw the length of the lines. I believe I said something to the effect of “what the hell is this shit show?” It was at that time that he sent me to the car. I’m not sure if it was for my sake, his sake or everyone around us sake. Either way I got out of there as fast as I could.
When he finally got out to the car I apologized. I thought he was going to be upset but he wasn’t. He told me I was doing a great job which I know to be total bullshit, but it was still nice to hear. We decided that we were going to call it a day and maybe we will try again tomorrow. I’m a good time if any of you want go shopping sometime. Just a minor admission fee and I’m all yours.