Park on the very top, Mommy. Go up! Go Up!
The maze of loops. I am lost and dizzy. I still haven't found my perfect parking spot here. I wonder if I will ever find it. It feels distant.
We find the top. He is happy. I am less confused.
Sunlight and rain.
I press the automatic door button as to avoid touching the handle and the microbials waiting to infect us. We enter.
Holiday music is playing. Lights. A frenzy of shoppers.
We walk past the store with the woman's butt hanging out of her underwear. It seems so provocative, so inappropriate with a three year old. I remember when I shopped there...when I could spend fifty dollars on a bra. Sigh. I don't even remember the last time I bought underwear. The sacrifices.
when, actually, it looks like this.
Let's go on the moving stairs, Mommy.
I'm sure, in his head, it looks like this...
We wander over to the escalator, one of the two reasons he comes here, and I hold my breath as we step on. Flashes of his shoe getting stuck, him being swallowed by the machine, always haunt me as we ride the few seconds up or down. It's the time of his life, standing tall and proud, he's a big boy. I try and breathe, and not fall as we step off.
We walk past the shops, window browse...look at the clothes, the decorations, the people.
The relief is evident, for both of us, as we merely wave to Santa. No tortured screaming pictures today. Santa waves back with a smile. I wonder when he'll begin to ask why Santa is in the mall, when he should be making toys. Not today, thank goodness.
We walk past the store with the shutters. It's so dark in there. I wonder how it is they can get it to smell so strong of their cologne. Do they pump it through their air filters? My eyes water.
I see my destination, and he sees his. The negotiation. If we go to his first, I might have more time...he'll be content. If we go to mine first, he might be impatient, but I'll have a bit more leverage.
Mommy! The cookie place!
His excitement is uncontrollable, the second of the two reasons he comes here, he is drooling and pointing to his favorite. I ask the cookie lady for the grab bag of cookies. Two M&M, one chocolate chip, one cinnamon and sugar. The cookies are small, the size of a quarter, but with his little hands and big eyes, it's a perfect fit.
A very special treat.
We ride the escalator again. It doesn't seem as thrilling this time, he's distracted with his cookie. Face already covered in chocolate, the ring of it around his little lips.
The local toy shop we both love, we wave hello to the manager and her husband. Surprisingly, he doesn't want to go in today, he's distracted by his second cookie. Sweetly, he asks for it.
We stroll past the kiosk selling spa products...the one trying to swipe and resell my gold...the one with Angry Birds. We stop and point. He reminds me he loves the one that goes caw and spins back like a boomerang. Laughter.
Finally. My destination. Clearance racks. My favorite store. Let's see if I can wrangle the little guy, his cookies, and find any more fifty-five dollar dresses for seven bucks.
A very special treat.