I had some free time today, and I spent it wandering around Target, as many moms do when given an hour alone.
At the back of the store, there were giant racks of garbage on clearance for 90% off the original price of $1-$3.
My mother would have gotten two carts full of crap and spent many hours back there, picking. She’d think ahead to any upcoming holidays and her vast gifting list. She’d just grab things randomly because they cost ten cents. She’d have made multiple bags of Halloween decor and sent it off to me–enough to decorate my whole neighborhood.
A year since her death, and one of the biggest absences I feel is the lack of little things just coming in from her. The tiny spoons for my sugar in my coffee. The magazine rack by the sofa. The toilet paper holders in my bathrooms. I look around my entire house, and all the little things that make my day operate more smoothly all came from her, such that I don’t know how to begin to buy such things. I never even needed to feel their absence to know I needed them. Shit just showed up, because she scoured a clearance bin for it and found it for under a dollar.
So I spent an hour in that clearance bin. I got too overwhelmed to think about next Halloween. I remain attached to my frustration with having tons and tons of tiny things just because they cost ten cents! But I did buy some gifties for all my nephews and cousins at Christmas and some decorations for Thanksgiving. These decorations cost 30 cents, so I really splurged.
I felt myself disappointing my mother by not having a cart. I could hear her voice yelling, “Always take a cart! You just never know when you’ll find a bargain.” Well, I didn’t have a cart, but there were Dory bags on clearance for 10 cents, so I just filled one of those. Then I hauled my giant tote of crap to the checkout and the whole thing cost $9.85, and I laughed and cried all at once.
My mom would have gone first to Starbucks, but if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have had 2 hands free to stuff my Dory bag.
She also would have bought the dog vests for my friend’s dogs. She would have gotten 3 pairs of socks for each holiday for my kids and she would have bought the bubble bath that gives them a rash.
I can’t do all the things just like her, because I reserve the right to still feel frustrated about shit like bath paint that stains the grout, which she bought all the time! But I’m glad I had an hour to myself and that I went outside my comfort zone to dig in those chaotic clearance heaps. Next holiday, maybe I’ll feel up to stocking up for the future.