Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing Day: A Really Fun Tradition

            “This shirt doesn’t fit, Mom.”

            I winced. “Gee, that’s too bad,” I answered.

            “We have to go exchange it,” my son replied. “I want to take it on the trip. We’re leaving tomorrow, you know.”

            “So I heard. You don’t have other shirts you can take?”

            “Not as cool as this one. Gram can really pick out good ones.”

            I muttered under my breath, something sarcastic about my mother and her choice of shirts in the wrong size.

            “What did you say?” he asked, coming into the kitchen wearing his new ‘I got this for Christmas’ shirt. The shirt was awesome; unfortunately, it was also too small.

            “Nothing, honey.”

            “Can we go now?”

            “Um…OK,” I reluctantly replied. It was Boxing Day, for heaven’s sake, the day after Christmas. There was nothing I wanted to do less than stand in line to exchange this shirt. I had a million things to do. I could set up my new IPod touch so I could get on Farmville. I could read the book my niece had given me, or listen to the Brad Paisley CD’s PJ gave me while delicately wolfing down the Ghirardelli chocolates from Alex.

            I dragged myself out to the car, a couple of Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares in my pocket, just in case. It was cold out here; it would be hot standing in line at the store.

            “Did you say something, Mom?”


            “OK. After we exchange this shirt, can we go see if the skateboard shop put their boards on sale yet? I got that gift card from Auntie M, and it’ll be just enough to buy that skateboard I wanted if they put it on sale.”

            “Why not?” I was in the car now anyway, resigned to my dismal fate. I pulled out onto the highway, and soon realized that traffic was moving at the rate of molasses flowing uphill in winter. I knew it; we were in line for a parking spot at the mall.

            Cell phones that allow your husband to call you while you’re standing in the exchange line are dangerous. “Are you going to be home soon?” 

            “I don’t think so,” I answered shrilly. “There are at least 30 people ahead of us in line.”

            “Too bad,” he replied sympathetically. “Would you mind stopping at the….”

            “Don’t even go there,” I warned him.

            “Well, I guess I could go get it myself, but you’re already out and….”

            My son grabbed the phone from my hand. “Um, Dad? I don’t think this is a good time for you to talk to Mom. She’s…” he looked at me and then cupped his hand around the mouthpiece and whispered, “having a meltdown. Sure, we can pick that up for you. No problem.”

            I narrowed my eyes and glared at my offspring.

            “You OK, Mom?” He smiled at me innocently, his big blue eyes and blonde hair giving him the appearance of an angel. I wasn't fooled.

            “Couldn’t be better,” I snarled.

            “Good!” he answered cheerfully. “I love shopping, don’t you?”

            “Oh, you do not either.”

            He just laughed.