I’ve been shopping. Not the legitimate kind. I’ve been scoping Web sites looking for dark rinse bell-bottom jeans, brown leather clogs, belts, little black dresses and other unauthorized clothing, shoes and accessories. The weather’s changing down here and it would be nice to have a few more long sleeved shirts and a maybe a sweater wrap. The holidays are also approaching, and Hanukkah, Dylan’s birthday and Christmas are almost here. There’s temptation everywhere, and I’m struggling to restrain myself.
But something else is going on. Remember, I’m an emotional shopper. The real reason I want to shop is that Mike has been in London on business since last Saturday. I’ve been on my own with my adorable but extremely demanding, needy, stubborn and often cranky boys for nearly seven days. Since we changed the clocks back an hour last weekend, the boys have been waking up at 4:30 in the morning, which means I’ve been waking up at 4:30, too. I’m beyond exhausted.
Coupons for free shipping and holiday discounts have been flooding my email inbox. I’ve been filling online shopping carts at Nordstrom, Gap and Anthropologie since last weekend. And I have a confession. I went all the way at Piperlime.com. I bought a charcoal grey vest with gold sequin lapels. (Sequins are in this holiday season. I learned that at Bloomingdales.com.) I got a 15% discount, but who cares when the vest cost $98 to start. It arrived in the mail yesterday. (Very fast shipping, by the way. It arrived in three days.) It’s cute, but it’s going back. Return shipping is free, and my buyer’s remorse is too strong to ever wear it.
I’ve lost control. The Piperlime purchase was a weak moment, but rock bottom would have happened today if I followed through on my scheme to drop the kids off at school and head to the mall for a morning of shopping. I stopped myself. Instead, I came straight home and took Harry for a walk. Now I’m writing.
I found out last night that an old friend of mine has breast cancer. She’s my age. I haven’t spoken to her in years, but we have the kind of friendship where we send each other birth announcements and changes of address. We went to each other’s weddings. We share big news – good and bad. She was there for me when I had my molar pregnancy, and now she has her own medical crisis. That phone call was just the slap in the face I needed to get my relapse under control.
I’m completely worn out from spending a week alone with my kids, but I have my health. I’m humbled and grateful, and I’m not going to obsess over bell-bottom jeans and sweater wraps. Not today. The kids slept in until 5:30 this morning and Mike is on an airplane right now headed home. At this time tomorrow, we’ll be back to our usual family routine. We’ll be up before dawn. Dylan will ask me “Why?” a thousand times before lunch, and Riley will have tantrums when I say no to standing on the kitchen counter and playing with knives. Mike and I will take turns watching the kids and running errands at Costco and Target. We’ll still be exhausted, but we’ll have what matters. That’s what I’m really shopping for. And it’s free.