Monday, November 07, 2005

Reflective Shopping

Not that I need a reason- but because I spend the majority of last week cooped up with a sick child and was fighting off my very own cold - I decided to take a holiday Saturday afternoon. People were coming over to watch Notre Dame defeat Tennessee - and, as with most football games, my emotions were tied only to how the outcome affects Ed's mood. In other words, I had absolutely no interest in watching football, especially IN THE HOUSE, which is where I've been for the last week.

I've had a Macy's gift card- given to me by my students from EDCC last spring- that I have been meaning to spend. I heard that there was an actual mall in Boston- more than one, but hadn't ever actually been to any of them. I've always prided myself on preferring the smaller, independent shops- maybe that's the organic Seattle snob/idealist in me, but lately I'd been craving some good, old fashioned consumer indulgence. Like my love for cable, I am what I am - a channel flipping consumer. So, I headed to the South Shore Plaza without a care in the world, ready to browse my brains out and, if something caught my eye- perhaps even purchase.

While roaming Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel looking for ideas to spruce up our home, I realized that it hasn't been since before I went to WWU that I actually had the time to do something that I chose to do. For the last five years, if I needed to take a break from studying, writing papers, grading papers, planning class, having a baby and nursing him, I had to MAKE the time - which usually meant foregoing some crucial task (you know, like pumping milk so my breasts wouldn't explode or sleep). I gotta say, it was NICE to cruise around a mall, try on perfumes, wander into stores that I would never go into unless they were on my list of needed "stuff," and basically just hang out.

I stopped at the Gap to buy jeans (seems all that "moving adjustment" adrenaline that kept me in my wonderful post-nursing weight has calmed down, that plus my recent ravaging of all the leftover halloween candy is making my current jeans a bit snug). I know that I'm old because I don't like buying jeans anymore- not because I don't like trying them on (that's bad enough), but because it's nearly impossible to find any jean that doesn't leave your ass crack hanging out anytime you're not standing up straight. Trying to figure out if "regular" meant regular, or 1/2 inch crack as opposed to "full crack," I asked a gap gal which jeans were the ones with the lower waist. Assuming I was looking for the more "trendy" (ass cracking) jeans, she pointed to the "low" section saying "oh, these are the ones you want," hinting that anyone who wanted anything else was next in line at the PTA meeting. I clarified that I wanted the ones that came up higher on the waist, she recovered as only an experienced retail salesgal could and pointed me in the right direction. I got my jeans, didn't (and don't) care about the fact that the sit only an inch or so below my belly button and wonder if I'm being "classic" or "out dated" in my fashion selections.

Oh, well. The afternoon was lovely. And Jack survived the five hours without mommy (of course). I came home replenished. I don't think it was that I needed time to shop - but just some TIME. I don't know how I would have made it out here teaching. It seems like the last five years in grad school and teaching (oh, and becoming a parent) have completely overrun personal time. I started to become a bit proud (read: martyr) about how much I devoted myself to two distinct roles: mommy, instructor. Wife, friend, sister, woman came in a very distant second, if at all. Is it in our culture to champion such inbalance? Whatever, I'm so glad that I decided to not teach, even if it meant I was in job limbo for a while- I was DONE. It wasn't until my little Saturday siesta that I understood just how "done" I was with that life.

I worked at a UCC church during grad school. One of the pastors there said that there are no coincidences. I'm inclined to agree. In all the change and turmoil of the last five years, I continue to move forward. I still can't reconcile why things work out for us - because I know there are millions if not more folks out there for which things DON'T work out. That's something to ponder and write about in my next five hour break.


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