I don’t go to the mall. I don’t enjoy the mall. It just seems like a place where bad things can happen. I guess that could be my PTSD talking (I did mention I went to war, right?) or the fact that the mall is just an uncomfortable place for me. When my husband was home, he would take the kids to the mall and buy their clothes. I usually stayed at home or went along for the ride, but never to just walk the mall or even hang around. It’s not my thing.
Imagine the anxiety I felt when I came to the conclusion that my daughter absolutely needed a new bathing suit. I’m sure girls her age have plenty bathing suits, but we just moved from North Carolina. In Charlotte, NC, you only wear a bathing suit in the summer for a week to go to the pool. You only wear that bathing suit for a week because the rest of the summer is too hot to swim. Anyway, I had to venture into the mall with my very active 3 year-old and my fashionista 6 year-old. I was not very happy about it, but decided to act very happy because happiness, after all, is a choice.
The trip went well. I even relaxed enough to go look at clothes for myself. Not only did I look at clothes for myself, but I went into another store and bought a few dresses for my daughter, a few t-shirts for my son along with the bathing suit I initially went to the mall for. I was quite impressed with myself. The day was turning out awesome…until we got back into the car to leave. All of sudden, my son became this maniac. He demanded quite loudly that he wanted to put his new shirt on “NOW!” and when I told him no, he began kicking and screaming. I would have gotten really angry at this scene if it wasn’t so funny. Yes, I laughed a little to myself because who does that over a shirt.
Honestly, I saw it coming before we go into the car. A clear sign that something was wrong was when he was making snow angels on the floor of H&M while looking at himself in the security camera, but I just wrote that off to him being tired. I was wrong. He wasn’t tired. He was frustrated, angry and sad – his words. I’m glad that I asked him what was wrong because my initial reaction was to yell and slam the door in his face, but his response and my daughter following it up with, “I’m sad too mommy” made me really take in what was happening. They missed their father. This was a daddy activity and this made him being gone very real. I could not help but cry. I told my son, right there in the parking lot with a lady looking at me sideways for my parking space, to scream. I told him to scream if he felt angry and frustrated. I told him to cry and let it all out. I looked at my daughter and told her to cry if she wanted to cry, so we all cried together. My son and daughter screamed that they were really, really mad and I just stood there allowing them their time to be mad, frustrated and sad.
It didn’t last long. The annoyed woman got her parking space and I did the only appropriate thing one can do in these types of situations. I gave my children a hug and then I took them to the bakery for pastries, so we could sit and talk. My daughter talked and my son ate and I learned something about myself. I learned that I am pretty freaking awesome and my kids are too.