Shopping has never really been my thing. I am a get in, pick it out and buy it kind of shopper. Spending hours looking at every little item is a nuisance. And, to add insult to injury, the nuisance becomes a fortified irritant if I am in the presence of unattended, undisciplined children. Am I alone here? Can I see a show of hands?
I am reminded of a trip to Disneyland with my little brother and his family during the mid-90’s. I told the parents I would give them a couple hours of adults-only time while the kids and I went shopping. I also told my husband when we left that morning, I was going to let the kids pick one gift – anything they wanted no matter the cost and I was going to buy it for them. This was non-negotiable and I was sure I would more than likely hate every minute and drown in a big pool of regret.
As mom and dad went off to enjoy the big people rides, the little ones and I started our spree. I told them they could buy anything they wanted, but only one thing, so they needed to make sure it was exactly what they wanted. Understand that my niece was about 6½ at the time and my nephew was only five years old. They had no real concept of cost.
I was amazed at how well-behaved these kids were. We looked at every item, on every aisle, on every shelf, in every souvenir shop on Main Street. I heard many an ooh and aah, but as they checked out every item, they did not touch a thing. They were well taught. In every store I asked them if they knew what they wanted, but both decided they needed to see more first. Once we finished the last store, clocking almost two hours, I asked them if they were ready to choose. Oh yes. My niece had her heart set on a Princess Fanny Pack at a whopping $12.99. My nephew chose an Aladdin Miniature Play Set priced under $10.00. They remembered exactly in which store each saw their items and exactly which shelf it was on. I can still see how their smiles beamed when the clerk handed them their treasures.
We were not three feet out of the door when I felt a persistent tug on my pant leg from my nephew: “Aunt Jacque, Aunt Jacque.” Suddenly a smothering veil of sadness shrouded my moment. I knew full well I was now going to have to be the ugly Aunt and tell this little guy no, he could not have something else. I took a deep breath. “What do you want sweetheart?” He took my hand, looked up at me with wide-eyed innocence and whispered, “Aunt Jacque, can we sit down now? I’m really tired.” That moment is forever etched in my heart. I bought drinks and we sat down on the curb to wait for the Main Street parade. I had never been so proud of two little kids.
Times have changed so much since then. High-end electronics, cell phones, iPads and video games leave very little to a child’s imagination. Everything they ever want, or need, is at a click of a mouse or the touch of a finger – in high definition, full color and surround sound. I know that life experience is relative to circumstances and surroundings, but it saddens me that childhood innocence seems lost.
I am so thankful I know how to turn it all off and allow my brain to cruise my imagination rather than shop for inspiration. Those journeys now spark blogs, and I need only memories to light the path. Whatever will I do if my memory ever fails me? Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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