Mall Memories (Day 281, Year 2)

Today, was glorious and truly the first "no real plans" Saturday we've had  since the school year started. 

Lily rowed (as she does nearly everyday and sometimes twice a day); Chloe had a last minute hang-out (I almost wrote playdate!) with a friend and Nicholas free ranged it with some neighbor kids at the park. We all worked on the outside Halloween decorations, Fall plantings and cleaning out the garden. We picked rainbow corn that I grew from seed. And then we scrubbed off the garden dirt and old schooled it at the Cherry Mall to shop for church clothes for the kids.

I love the mall.  It brings back so many memories with my Dad--shopping for church clothes or my new "Easter coat" every Spring. I remember when the Willow Grove Mall first opened--and my little bear stuffy fell all three floors out of my plastic purse. I was devastated; but quickly recovered when my Dad took me to the Food Court for a cookie. And memories of Junior High Friday nights with my best friends, shopping at Merry Go'Round and 5-7-9. Flirting with high school boys from Germantown Academy at the King of Prussia mall and then being horrified when they wanted our numbers (we were just middle schoolers!). 

High school weekends in Hot Topic for band t-shirts and then buying new Vans wherever I could find my size. Shopping on high school Sundays with Mike. College Black Fridays at King of Prussia shopping the sales on clothes with my best friend Karen. Walking through the mall in Burlington, Vermont, all alone, the day I found out my dad was in congestive heart failure and just thinking I needed some cozy pajamas and everything would be okay. 

And the baby and toddler days with my three littles, walking the Mall and hitting up Gymboree and Build a Bear while sneaking in Banana Republic and J. Crew for myself. Or spending evenings with my bestie Caroline and her daughter Maddie at the Mall--getting matching outfits for Lily, Chloe and Maddie, as well as a myriad of things we did not need. It was less about shopping, though, and more about being a little family unit. Caroline's husband was deployed and Mike had a new job and a lot of travel. We relied on each other, so much, for company and camaraderie as we navigated motherhood. 

I know it's silly; but there are so many memories of adventuring through the Mall with the people I love. I remember the first time Lily took consecutive independent steps--Black Friday in the brand-new Nordstrom in Cherry Hill. She proceeded to run and giggle through the entire mall--so excited at her new found independence. I remember a mall in Salt Lake City--when all the kids of Utah were back-to-school and we were still summer vacationing-the kids had Build-a-Bear to themselves and thought it was absolutely amazing. And all the back-to-school shopping antics with my three, including all the twinning and posing with mannequins. And even tonight, the five of us for church clothes and dinner--nothing special, but still a memory of a night together with my four favorite people in the world. 

There are still endless things to do out there and of course, decorations to put up inside and there is laundry and a myriad of things I am forgetting. I have no idea if anyone really got good church clothes. And there are more important things than shopping in a mall. But, there is nothing more important than time and memories with the people you love.