Black Friday. Worth Every Penny. And Then Some.

I’ve never liked to shop. Ever.

Still don’t. So when my 17 yr. old daughter asked if we could shop on Black Friday I laughed. Out loud. When she told me she was serious, I eyed her suspiciously.

“Only if we go at 5am,” I said, confident that she would back down immediately. You see, I’m a morning person. She’s a night person. A very late night person. She sleeps ’till noon every chance she gets. I knew I was safe.

“Ok!” she said enthusiastically.

Huh? What the…? How did that happen? I then tried to weasel out of it.

“Seriously? You’ll get up at 4:30? I don’t think so. Besides, I don’t think the stores you’ll want to shop even open up that early.”

Remember? I don’t like to shop. So in my forty-something years I’ve never shopped on Black Friday. I’ve avoided it like the plague. I thought only large discount stores and appliance stores were open at that un-godly hour the day after Thanksgiving.

“No, I already checked,” she said, “The mall opens at 5am.”

Rats. I was stymied. I had no idea where to go from there to get out of it.

“Ok…….” I said, voice trailing. I still had 5 more days to figure out how to get out of it. Surely, something would come to me.

But Thanksgiving Day arrived and I still didn’t have a way out. And she was so excited. Sharing this story with my sister on the phone she chastised my lack of enthusiasm.

“You set that alarm for 4:30am and enjoy yourselves. You’re creating memories,” she said, “Just don’t forget your helmet and elbow pads.”

Yikes. That got me. Especially since my stomach sinks every time my daughter receives a letter from a college trying to recruit her. I’m trying to cherish every moment she wants to spend with me. What was my problem?

So on Friday morning, we woke up before the crack of dawn and set out. We drove past our local Wal-Mart at 5:15am. Every, and I mean EVERY parking spot was taken. People were parking on the grass, off the curb. I’ve never seen it so busy. What was I getting myself into?

We arrived at the mall by 5:30am. It was busy but not unbearable. We shopped. We laughed. We waited in lines. I had to go check out the deals at the Disney Store (of course) and she reluctantly tagged along. 

The line was about 10 people deep and she rolled her eyes. “This is just like waiting in line for the rides, ” she groaned. But when we went to Hollister (her favorite store) the line for the cash register winded, weaved and wove through the store. “This must be SOME roller coaster!” I said excitedly. She pretended not to know me.

We chatted on the way to other stores. We chatted over coffee. We chatted in lines. We chatted in the car on the way to lunch. We observed people and talked about that. She shared with me things that were going on with school and with her friends. We reminisced. Mostly light things but some heavy things came up, too. And when the heavy things surfaced it slipped into our conversation easy, calm. I was able to share things I’ve always wanted to say – things every parent should say. She shared her feelings with a little awkwardness. (She is a teenager, after all.)

It was an amazing day.

I remember hearing Dr. Phil impart his wisdom on teenagers once. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that if you want your kids to talk to you about the big things then you’d better listen to the little things. In theory, I wholeheartedly agreed. But that day, I was able to see it in motion.

I’ve always felt I was a pretty involved parent. But days like this remind me I can always do more. Listening to those little things – how many sisters we could tell were shopping together, who her friends were dating, the latest fashion must-haves, how awful school lunches were – turned into conversations and snippets of some really big things. (And since I’d like to preserve some of her privacy I’m just going to let you guess what those were.) I heard her thoughts. She heard mine. It was amazing conversation with a little shopping thrown in. We enjoyed ourselves so much we’ve decided to make it a yearly tradition.

I saved a good bit of money on Black Friday. I lost a little sleep. Looking back, it was a simple gesture that became grand. And I can’t believe I tried to get out of it. What a shame that would have been.

(This is a repeat post from my first year of blogging. But it’s a lesson I have cherished. As I’m about to approach our 4th Black Friday Extravaganza, I thought I’d send a shout out to all of you to get out there and start making memories with your daughters. And sons. In ways that are meaningful for you. For us, it involves shopping. Yes. I have been reformed.)

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6 Comments

Filed under Holiday, Lessons Learned, Motherhood

6 responses to “Black Friday. Worth Every Penny. And Then Some.

  1. I loved this post the first time. Still do. I went to a Hollister store for the first time in New York when I was there for BlogHer to get a t-shirt for my son. If I loved my son one iota less than I do, I would have fled screaming the minute I entered that dark, loud, godforsaken place.

  2. I thought from the first paragraph that I’d read this before. But I got so caught up in the flow of your morning and your relationship that I forgot until the line at the bottom.

    I love this post for the lesson about listening and engaging. Even when we don’t really want to.

    Good Gravy, has it been four years already?

    Jane, we’re staying really young, considering! ;-)

  3. Whenever I get dragged into Hollister (only so I can pay) the kids act as if they don’t know me. Actually, they do that anyway!

  4. This is such a good reminder. We really do have to grab what small moments we can, and I think when we meet our kids on their turf (shopping or otherwise), we connect in a much better way. This same thing ocurs every year when I drive my son up to visit the grave of one of his best friends. It’s a 3-hour drive each way and we spend it talking about big things and little things, and everything in between.

    My daughter sounds like yours. She LOVES to shop and thinks Black Friday is a special event. My husband usually takes her out at midnight, but maybe this year I will instead. As long as I’m not intruding on Daddy-Daughter time that he covets.

  5. D

    My oldest daughter and I have gone Black Friday shopping together since she was in her early 20s. We missed one year when she had my first grandchild just before Thanksgiving. We are not going out this year and I will really miss it. Instead, I be at her home teaching her and my almost-ten year old grandson to make bread.

  6. I’ll say it again–you are such a good mom. You took the time to be there. You showed up. And you even did something as loathsome as shopping. Another reason we’re sistas.

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