If time travel is ever possible, this post will explain to my younger, childless self, why today was such a big deal that I would put it in my top ten (maybe top twenty) best days of my life.
It started when my boss texted me to tell me that the snowy roads were messy and I could stay home today. She knows that I am anxious about driving on icy roads. I admire my friends who work in health care and have no choice but to drive in terrible weather. Since I do not save lives for a living, I don’t see a point in risking my own. I chose to take her word for it that the town where I work was worse than where I live.
I had already dropped my daughter off at my parent’s house for the day. I was already on my way. I posed the following question to a mom’s group on Facebook:
So I was heading to work and my boss texted that roads are messy and I can stay home. I already dropped my girl off at my parent’s. Would you a) just go to work, b) go home and do productive things around the house, c) pick up kiddo for (ANOTHER) snow day, d) go to the movies.
The ladies did not disappoint with their answers. A chorus of B and D answers encouraged me to enjoy the day to myself. Boy, did I ever. I’m not really a shopper anymore, but for the last few months, I’ve carried a list of things to buy if I happen to see them while I am out. I needed a ticket stub journal, desk organizing things, pot holders. Super sexy stuff.
First, I went to Target. I needed to buy nighttime diapers. Exciting! While there, I discovered so many things that I never see when I am shopping with my two-year old. I have had a couple of Target gift cards for more than a year. This is absurd. I am at Target all.of.the.time. I usually race through the store in hopes of finding what I need, while crossing my fingers that my girl doesn’t notice every crappy toy with a Frozen sticker slapped on it. Today, I took my time. I was so excited to mindlessly shop, that I was *smiling* at strangers. I found my desk organizing things, a new book, a cute new wallet, pot holders, a place to store my ticket stubs, and diapers. But… I forgot to pay for the diapers. As I loaded my car, I noticed the box of diapers on the bottom of my shopping cart that I forgot to mention to the cashier. I put it in my car. I’m not going to lie. I thought about driving away, but I have this annoying habit of always doing the right thing. I walked back in to the store, told the customer service guy what happened, and paid for the diapers. He gave me 20% off for being so honest. What?! They were already on sale. We’re talking a few bucks here, but it felt better to save a few dollars instead of stealing several more.
Lunch time. I live in the suburbs and since I wasn’t sure about the roads, I wanted to stay local. I was about to go to Chipotle for lunch when I realized, I do not have my husband or child with me. For the first time in forever, (damn it, Frozen,) I can go wherever I want! I went to a pho restaurant because I was blissfully alone. I wouldn’t dream of taking my kid to a joint that doesn’t serve crayons as an appetizer, and my husband wouldn’t dream of trying something on this fantastic menu.
What do you think when you see someone dining alone? Are you sad for them? Aw, poor lady has no friends. Or, aw, poor guy is lonely. Dude. Stop. Eating alone is magnificent. I feel the same way about traveling alone. I think it’s because I like myself. I’m also reaping the wonderful reward that comes with aging: not giving a **** what people think. 15 years ago, I would probably just go without lunch before sitting in a restaurant alone. Today? I proudly requested my table for one. I enjoyed consuming pho along with the words of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.
I love my friends and family, but sometimes it is a joy to silently take in the noise of restaurant patrons chattering away without the pressure of having to converse.
My next stop was Macy’s. I had a couple of gift cards to spend there and I have been wanting a new, structured tote to replace the slouchy, impractical bag that I have been carrying for far too long. Without paying a cent of my own money, I left Macy’s with a bag that was on sale for $200 less than the original price. I am not a shopper, but this was kind of thrilling.
At this point, I’m looking for the piano that is going to fall on my head.
After leaving the mall, I went to Home Goods, knowing that they carry the kid’s gardening tools that I wanted to buy for my daughter’s Easter gift. I used my remaining Christmas money to purchase that gift and a few fun things for myself. As I paid for my things, another customer told the cashier why her credit card didn’t work. He nodded. She walked away. He told me that she yelled at him and my maternal instincts kicked in. I told him that working retail is really hard and people are unreasonable sometimes. I told him that the only thing he could do was just continue to be kind and hope that kindness spreads. I have a day off filled with consumerism and now I think I’m the Dalai Lama.
My last stop before returning to reality? Home. I unwrapped my purchases and got to work. I organized the junk drawer in the kitchen, organized my desk, and then I assembled my daughter’s Easter basket and hid it in my closet. I kind of listened to the Parks and Rec cast on my DVR’d episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers while chopping veggies for dinner. Finally, I went back to my parent’s house to pick up my girl. I spent my day shopping, organizing, and enjoying an unencumbered existence. I could actually hear my inner voice thanking me for nourishing my own needs.
Thanks to the women who encouraged me to enjoy my break today, I now have the following organized spaces to enjoy:
And my Easter shopping is done! Instead of a basket, I purchased a pretty storage basket that we will keep in her playroom for toys. No waste!
There you have it, time traveling me. Being a mom is hard. Really hard. It’s so hard that finding time to buy bubbles for your two-year old’s Easter basket is actually tricky. Doing ANYTHING alone is huge when you’re parenting a toddler. Now, show me how to visit 1995, please.