Sunday, April 22, 2012

"S" is for...Shopping

S    Shopping

My mother loved shopping. In fact, you might even have called it her hobby. And it was one I willingly shared with her.

During the years I lived with her, after my father died, our Saturday ritual was going to the mall. We had two malls in our town, and we’d go to one or the other or sometimes both. Our day started leisurely; we were never morning people. We’d leave the house around 1:00 or so. We could spend hours wandering throughout different stores, just looking, seeing what was new or on sale that week. I’ve never known anyone else I could shop with the way my mother and I shopped together. It was more a social thing than a desire or need to buy something. We enjoyed the activity of the mall, the sensory stimulation, the colors, watching other people.

My mother would look for the best bargains. If she found something that was marked down from the marked-down price, she’d say, “For that price I can’t leave it here.” Sometimes she’d try the clothes on, sometimes she wouldn’t feel like it, but either way, there was bound to be something she’d change her mind about and decide to bring back a week or two weeks later. “I don’t really like it/it doesn’t fit right/I don’t have anything to go with it”—whatever the reason was, back it would go. I used to joke with her that the stores were going to put up her picture on the cash register with the warning, “Don’t sell anything to this woman.”

Our shopping trips always included a late lunch or even an early dinner at a restaurant in or near the mall. It was a time to talk and to listen to her stories—she was a wonderful storyteller, a facility I wish I had inherited from her.

What my mother enjoyed most was food shopping, and I did not share her love for that activity. She’d go food shopping during the day while I was at work. When she finally stopped driving, those several-times-a-week trips to the grocery store were what she missed the most. My husband and I began taking her out to the supermarket and to dinner on Saturday or Sunday nights, and that became a welcome ritual, as we were able to do our shopping while she did hers, making that chore a little more pleasant. We’d usually finish ours long before she did; she loved to stop and look at everything, read the packages, examine all the tables in the bakery section. Eventually my husband and I performed a kind of triage on her grocery cart. She would pick up cans of fruit when we knew that she already had a dozen cans of fruit at home, or take things we knew she wouldn’t eat. So we’d sneak them back onto the shelves when she wasn’t looking. She never missed them.

Later on, though, it became too difficult for her to shop. She complained that she could no longer stand or walk long enough. She still wanted to go, but when we got there she would need to find a bench or chair and sit down, asking us to pick up whatever she needed. She’d say her legs were too tired, but I suspect it was also that she was becoming too confused to really know what she was doing.

I’m not the kind of shopper I was then anymore. My husband hates it, and we’ve always had so many other things to do on weekends that I’ve gotten out of the “wandering through the mall” habit. Even when I go by myself now, I go with a focus on looking for something specific. The days of leisurely browsing are past, but I’ll always be glad for the memories of those weekend shopathons and having had that time with my mother.


  1. I have a vivid me Oey I hold dear of my. Other along me shopping for clothes for my freshman year of college. She would get so excited when we found something that looked really grat on me. I remember her in the mirror. Clapping. We'd found it. I don't shop anymore either.

  2. A nice memory, Sandra. My mother always encouraged me to get something that looked good on me and that I liked. I did the same for her.

  3. What a nice time fo ryou both to share. And althogh you may not see it, you definately inherited her storyteller ability - you are awesome at weaving a tale. I'm glad you have those shared hours to remember your passion together.

  4. Momma and I used to shop together a lot, too. She can't walk the big stores anymore so it's usually a very quick trip of getting what she needs or wants and heading out. We can only do those now and then,it's just too much for her most days. I'm not a giant shopping lover, but I did enjoy shopping with her and being her pack mule! LOL
    Nice memory, for you and for me. ♥

  5. Very nice, cuz. My mother and I would shop almost every Saturday night at Sterns. Only we hardly ever returned stuff. My husband worked Saturday nights so I had a whole evening to fill. We would take my son (he loved the outing too) and make a night of it. We loved the furniture department for some reason, then we would move on to the clothes and finish up in the housewares/dishes department. My mother loved dishes; when she passed away, I had to find homes for 12 sets of dishes! Like you, I don't enjoy shopping now the way that I did when I went with my mother and son. If I need to go shopping for an outfit for an occasion, I usually go alone. I try my selections on in the fitting room by myself and think silently, OK Mommy, how do I look in this?~Denise

  6. What a wonderful Mom memory to have. I love shopping with my daughter and hope we are making memories as nice as yours.

    Happy A to Z-ing!

  7. What a sweet memory...and it worked out so well for you guys and your mom to take her on the weekends.

    A couple of years ago, I stopped to see an elderly neighbor. During the course of our conversation, she told me that her son takes her grocery shopping--but it was not getting so hard for her to walk (in her late 80s). Then she said, looking sort of guilty, "I loooooooove to walk up and down the DeLallo aisle. That is an ethnic food brand locally. And she was second generation American. I just remember thinking it was a shame that she felt guilty about it, and that it was so cute that it brought it her such pleasure. :-)

    Nice post. Good to "meet" you. Following you now :-)

  8. What wonderful memories to have. My mom loves to shop and I've always dragged my feet whenever she took me into a store. Now that I have a son, I've found we both love to shop for him. Makes both my mom and son happy! :)