Yesterday, I spent 10 hours at Michigan’s largest outlet mall.
I am not joking. I am not exaggerating. I am exhausted.
My girls and I planned to take it easily and steadily as we spent a day shopping for clothing for my eldest son’s upcoming bar mitzvah. The understanding was that we would meander through and into stores, stop for lunch or a snack when we were hungry, perhaps indulge in foot massages at the mall’s spa if we needed to relax.
If we really wanted a break, we vowed to go to the movie theater in the mall and kick back with some big-screen entertainment for a couple hours.
Well, I can tell you this: we did not have time for movies. Our 10 hours at the mall featured mostly shopping, two meals and a last-dash gelato break before the stores shuttered for the night.
Again, I am not joking.
We shopped our little tushies off, and in the process we walked 11,000 steps in one day, all indoors. Seriously.
The good news is, we found outfits for both the bar mitzvah and the Friday night for both girls, including hair accoutrements. One of my daughters still needs shoes for the blessed event.
I found a dress for the Friday night but am still in search of a day-of outfit. The boys and my husband have yet to even look, let alone buy.
You might think me crazy for spending 10 hours at a mall; it does sound ridiculous.
But I have to say that despite the extreme exhaustion (as if I pulled an all-nighter AND indulged in too much partying), I had a ball with my girls. We had no deadline except for the mall hours, and we had no agenda other than to look and hope that we found things that worked.
We took our time. We discovered and explored. We popped in here, we avoided there, and in the corridors of the mall, we wound in and out of family units and eager teenagers and boys with pants way too far down to walk without waddling.
It was fun. It was like being on vacation except without the sunshine, warm breezes and pina coladas. (They even bought bathing suits, so we were channeling the beach.)
It’s a rare weekend when I can devote my attention to two of my four children without feeling guilty about the others. My eldest was off at a youth group Shabbaton for the weekend, and my youngest was off with my husband at a Cub Scout campout.
When we returned home, we pulled all the bags and boxes inside and set about tearing off tags, piling receipts and divvying up the loot. We hung up and put away, and then after we were all in comfy pajamas, the three of us climbed into my bed and zoned out to mindless TV.
We snacked late at night on cheese and fruit and cuddled together in a way that we won’t be able to do years from now. It was, simply put, sweet time just the girls.
Lovely. Fun. Full of smiles and laughter.
Despite the exhaustion and sore feet, yesterday was a day-long expression of love and enjoyment at just being together, just feeling blessed for the beauty of this family.