My older son got a sales job that requires wearing a dress shirt and tie every day, so I offered to take him shopping.
It was a good excuse to get to spend time with him, plus I wanted to help.
It was like old times. When he was a teenager, we’d go about twice a year on a marathon shopping trip to buy clothes for him.
It’s been a long time since we’ve done that, and I’d forgotten a few things.
I broke all my own rules.
First of all, I didn’t wear comfortable shoes. I stayed at work until time to meet him, and I had on pointy-toed boots. I wore my coat into the stores, and I know better. I did take the correct, small cross-body purse to keep my hands free as I shopped.
I forgot that I cannot be too enthusiastic or make any sudden moves when shopping with my son.
He’s like a deer that gets spooked and runs into the woods, and the chances of him coming back are slim to none.
I’m a loud talker. My son is reserved and doesn’t like to call attention to himself.
He’s 6-4, so it’s not like he’s invisible.
I managed to embarrass him and got shushed a couple of times, just like when he was a teenager.
Then I made the near-fatal mistake of bringing too many clothes to him at once.
Unlike my own shopping trips, where I have a mountain of clothes in the dressing room, he — being the male of the species — gets overwhelmed.
When I went to check out, not a salesperson was in sight. I said, loudly, “Knock, knock!”
“Mom, just wait,” he said.
It was almost closing time, and we had miles to go. There was no time to waste.
I suggested, smiling sweetly, that he run along to the next store while I checked out.
Left alone, I went to a makeup counter, yoo-hooed at the clerk, and told her the menswear guy was nowhere to be found.
(The last I’d seen him, he was straightening clothes while eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup).
I met my son in the next store and practiced my whispering as we shopped.
The stacks of pants were a mess, and sizes were out of order.
I bent down and felt pain in my knees, but I fought through it.
We selected quite the collection of shirts, ties and pants.
One thing that I did right was bring a store coupon.
At checkout, I took a risk and made light banter with the salesclerk.
I even bragged on my son’s golfing and duck-hunting expertise, but I didn’t get a chagrined look or anything.
My son thanked me several times for buying the clothes for him and offered to pay me back.
He asked me if I wanted to go in another store to look at ties. If I ever say no to more shopping, someone take me to the hospital because I’m obviously sick.
My feet were killing me, and I got a cramp in my left foot. I limped into the store like an Olympic runner at the finish line, and I told my son to leave me and to head to the ties. I took off one shoe and carried it the rest of the night.
He mentioned stopping at a shoe store, and I parked the car, and he ran to the door in the rain to see if the store was open.
It had already closed, but people were still shopping. As someone in retail, he wouldn’t dare make anybody stay late.
We’ll just have to go another night. This time, I’ll be ready (I whispered).
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.