Most shopping trips aren't sweet, or even fun or enjoyable for that matter. Most include mundane things like food and gas and dry cleaning or buying a diet coke. Today I had a very sweet shopping trip, though, with my youngest daughter, Leah.
When I picked up Leah from school she reminded me that I PROMISED her I'd take her shopping for her best friend's birthday. I really didn't have the time. But you know those promises. I don't want her to think I can't ever be trusted. She already knows that I sometimes can't be trusted to take her places I said I would. So I acquiesed. Leah wanted to go to Target or Shopko or someplace like that to buy a gift for Camryn, her red-headed pal.
My mind raced for a different alternative. I couldn't bear to go into Target one more time this week. You usually have to drag me into Shopko. Then I thought of this darling antique store, very close, very convenient. I knew Leah could find the perfect treasure for Camyrn there.
We headed into the Planted Earth, an old house converted into a charming antique store. Leah was enchanted with the wall to wall stuff. I was enchanted with how enchanted she was. She walked in the door and looked around and smiled. There was so much to look at! There were no aisles, no rattling shopping carts, no loud speakers, no glaring lights. Instead there were displays grouped according to themes that were lovely to look at. Aprons, watches, match boxes, plates, books, watering cans, just to name a few. A tightly manicured poodle (live!) was watching us from the corner.
First we looked at some jewelry, then some plants, then some sea shells. Leah gently turned them over in her hand, trying to find some perfect ones for her friend. She was calm and thoughtful. She was quiet and reflective. She looked so sweet and beautiful sitting there, trying to make a choice. I loved her immensely at that moment.
She got two clam shells, and two spiral shells. We found a purse display that had a hot-pink snap open style purse, the kind my Aunt Hazie used to carry around (except hers were always brown and huge, it seemed). Leah had found her gift. And to top it off, it could be a receptacle for the precious shells!
She was delighted to find that there was an entire floor upstairs that we had not discovered. She took my hand and we trotted upstairs to discover more wall to wall treasure. Her eyes darted from item to item. So much cool stuff.
I was delighted to spend 30 minutes shopping with my daughter who is growing up way too fast. I wished there were more hours to peruse antique stores with her. I was surprised at her maturity when I said I didn't want to go but that we needed to take her sister somewhere. I was grateful I had exposed her to something unique, something that just might stand out among the countless trips to the "regular stores."
She brought the purse home and found a gift bag and tissue. She put some lip gloss and two miniture bottles of nail polish she'd picked out last week next to the shells. She snapped the purse shut, and then opened it up to look at it again.
She remembered the miniature watering can we'd also bought for her own doll, Jessie. "Jessie just loves to water things, Mom," she told me.
"I hope Camryn likes my present, Mom," she said, a bit worried. And I worried a bit, too, since you never know if a seven-year old will appreciate an unconventional gift.
"She's going to love it because you picked it out so carefully for her, Leah, " I told her. How could she not?