A new way to shop

23 Dec

Last week I shopped online with Lara.  We have always enjoyed shopping together.  A tradition we started when she was about 10 or 11.  Back to school shopping, holiday shopping, birthday shopping, spring shopping, several times a year we would spend the day at the mall getting clothing for both of us, and for others.

When Lara was in high school, she always volunteered for her homeroom to do the holiday shopping for the child her group adopted.  We also adopted two children for our family to buy gifts for the holidays.  Lara and I would hop in the car with the money she had from her classmates, and the lists for all the children. And we would spend the day shopping.  And yes, I did add some money to her bounty to make sure that everything her child wanted and needed was purchased.

Every shopping experience was wonderful.  Sometimes we went shopping with my sister and niece in New Jersey.  Other times we did three generations shopping extravaganzas with my Mom or my Mother-in-law.  Women time:  it is not really the shopping that made it wonderful, it is the conversations.

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Of course there were a few times when she wore me out.  When the chairs near the fitting room were a welcome relief for me and all the packages.  I saved the stores with the best chairs for last.  So that when I was tired, I knew I could have a comfortable place to analyze what Lara was trying on.

Even when she was at college, although I missed her, we always found time to shop when she got home.  And although she could not be there when I did the shopping for others, for that one shopping experience, her brother, Mike, would come along.

I miss my girl.   I miss lunch with her.  I miss discussing options for items for our house…or for me. I miss her good opinions and her company.

Although Jay and Mike try to shop with me, their idea of a good shopping expedition is 45 minutes at Costco tasting food samples and searching all the electronics.  I feel extra pity now for my friends with only boys for they have never experience the joy of shopping with a daughter. 

So with Lara so far away, I have tried to do some shopping on my own.  But I find it not fun.  I have gone shopping with two of my close friends. And that helps. We shop; we do lunch, we have a great time. 

But shopping with Lara is a special time.  Just as shopping with my Mom and sister was always special.  Our times together always ended with jokes to my Dad about how much we saved him, especially when we returned from a big sale shopping experience.  Lara and I would continue that tradition with Jay.

So two weeks ago when Lara sent me an email about some leggings she wanted me to buy for her and bring when I visit, I avoided going to the store.  Shopping in her favorite store, without her seem sad.  But then coupons arrived in the mail, and I knew I could not put it off any longer.

When I arrived, I saw that the store was having a giant pre-holiday sale.  Two of the sales women helped me…I was the only one in the store on an early Tuesday morning.  But we only could fine one pair of the leggings Lara wanted.  I tried texting her to no avail.  Yes, I can text overseas, amazing.

Then I decided to try something new:  FaceTime from my phone.  She had called me several times using this Dick Tracy like application.  So I did it.  I called with FaceTime.  And there she was!!! On my phone, able to see where I was and look at the clothes in the store.

We went shopping together.  It was so much fun. Even the sales women got into it.

“Where is she?” They asked.

“Israel!” I replied.

“Really?  You are shopping with her from Israel. That’s wonderful.”

I admit, she got more than just two pair of leggings.  And I picked a gift for my son’s girlfriend as well.

When it was time to leave, I felt a little sad.  But at the same, I wondered how my Mom survived the year I lived overseas.  No phone, no email, no internet, no Facetime.   Just letters. 

A few days later, Mike’s girlfriend turned 21.  He felt badly that he could not spend the day with her.  “She spent the entire day shopping with her Mom,” he told me despondently.

“Hey Mike,” I replied, “When Lara turned 21, I did the same thing for her birthday.  Don’t be upset. Next time you see her Mom,  say,  “Glad you two went shopping…my Mom and sister would have done the same thing.”

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