The shoppers are out in droves, not only to beat the cranked-up Christmas clock, but to outrun the storm. Dr. Mel is predicting almost a foot of snow by the time the clouds move out at midnight. It's noon now. The white stuff is just starting to fall. I think of angels shaking dandruff from blue-gray tresses.
I left The Boss at a friend's house for my run out to Target. I am looking mainly for some clay to round out her array of Christmas gifts. It's one of her favorite things to play with at school--the rolling, the stretching, the marking with a "B." Plus, Crayola's clay offerings are made in the USA, which is so rare in the world of children's toys that I'm considering it a Christmas miracle.
Target doesn't have it, of course. So much for magic. Instead I buy the Mamma Mia DVD for my own mamma and some paper towels for the friend who's watching The Boss (as a courtesy, not a gift). Everywhere, people are taking long strides, their thighs rubbing in rhythm as they cut like scissors through the crowd. Number Two is in his carrier atop the front seat of the cart. He is tired and ornery but he is too transfixed by the frenzy to complain.
When we are finally released into the parking lot, what was clear and hot and red behind us is now a cold white light. There's already a film of snow on the ground. A woman chuckles as she strides past me. Her black hair holds itself in a perfect flip. She is dark and round and almost joyous. "Look at all of us. They told us to stay home, but here we are. Shopping."
I turn to watch her and, since she seems to be talking to me, I smile and nod. She has such throaty confidence. Her chortle remains even after the automatic doors swallow her up. It dissipates slowly in the cold as I throw a blanket over Number Two. Then I push the cart into a fast slide toward our truck. Toward home.
Do you consider shopping a form of retail therapy or is it the very act of gift-buying that is threatening to push you over the edge this holiday season? This is just one of the questions on the mind of The Parent Bloggers Network as they pair up with Family Aware to find out how bloggers across this sphere of ours are adapting their holiday preparations to keep from becoming completely overwhelmed. Check out what these writers have to say.