I don’t know why I said “Yes,” but I did, so I was obligated to follow up with action.
On Wednesday evening, our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, asked if, after school on Thursday, I would take her to Joplin to do some shopping. As a veteran parent, my first reaction to Emma’s question was “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”
That was followed by a pause and then a realization: “Oh, you’re serious!”
It turns out that Emma had several important things she needed to buy. Important thing number one involved materials for school lunches. Emma is a sophomore in high school and after all of those previous years of eating school lunches has decided she would like to occasionally bring her own lunch to school.
“Do I have to make your lunches?” I asked Emma.
“No, I will make them,” Emma said.
“Then OK. I’ll take you shopping,” I said.
The other important things Emma needed to shop for were things she likes to call, “Oh, look at that!”
See, it has been so long since I took Emma shopping that I forgot that when faced with buyable items, Emma has the attention span of a Labrador retriever. Emma will walk into a store intending to buy — let’s say — a notebook, and like a Lab on a walk in the park will see something else out of the corner of her eye, suddenly yell “Squirrel!” and change directions.
The store we opted to go to in Joplin was similar to the large, 24-hour retail store in our town but is owned by a different company. Emma likes the store we opted to go to because: “They have cute stuff and I can afford it.”
Affordability is a big deal to Emma because she knows if she says, “I’ll pay for it with my own money,” I will let her buy whatever it is she wants to buy.
Of course, I could point out to Emma that “her money” used to be my money, but I guess that would be a tad crass.
On Thursday, when we walked into the store, Emma, who had typed her shopping list onto her phone, immediately headed toward a large rack containing scarves.
“Oh these are so cute,” Emma said and then picked one off the rack and put it in her shopping cart.
“I didn’t know that scarves were on your shopping list,” I said.
“They’re not, I just … SQUIRREL!” Emma shouted and ran off to look at boots.
Boots weren’t on Emma’s list, either, but she bought some just the same. I let her buy the boots and scarf because she used her own money, which used to be my money.
After putting the boots in her cart, it was time for Emma to move on to the food department to get some things for her lunches. But before we could get there Emma stopped and said “SQUIRREL!” again and ran off to look at DVDs. She bought two DVDs — using her own money, which used to be my money — and I bought her another DVD using my money.
Then it was off to the lunch bag aisle. I jokingly suggested that Emma get a Barbie lunch bag and she said, “Actually, I want a little kid’s lunch bag. That’s what’s cool at school now,” she said.
Emma looked at the lunch bags for a while and finally picked out a “Monsters University” lunch bag and a small “Monsters University” thermos and then it was off to the food department. Emma picked out a number of food items that sounded good to her and we headed toward the check-out aisles. When we got there, Emma paid for the scarf, the boots and two DVDs while I paid for one DVD, the Monsters University lunch bag and thermos and all of the food items.
Later, on the way home, I stopped and bought some beer.
Don’t worry. I used my own money.
Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.