Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog Rewind: Boots to Sandals

Snow hit Chicago about a week ago. It was the first REAL snow and it stuck! Our kids were bubbling over with winter joy and just could not wait one more second to get outside and run and play and roll in that gorgeous blanket of white.

It was about that time that we realized that our 10 year old son had outgrown ALL his snow gear! The snow pants and boots were way to small and he was going to miss out on all the fun! In addition to missing a lot of play in his yard, he would not be allowed to play outside at school, either. We carefully chose our children's school and one thing that we love is that they are offered 3 recesses each day, sun or snow! But, without the right right supplies, Noah would be watching all the fun on the playground through the windows of his classroom.

So, we packed up all four kids and headed out to find boots and snow pants for our first-born. (As an aside, we were not in the store long before I remembered WHY I do not take all four of my kids shopping at once... even with the help of my dear husband!) We arrived at Target, found the boot aisle and began to shop. Well, we tried to begin to shop. : ) The shelves were nearly empty and the sizes available were not my son's. I found a Target employee and asked for assistance. After three Target employees came to help us, all of them on high tech walkie talkies, AND after they explained that their extra stock was kept at a remote location could not be available to us until well into the next day, we were told that they had NO boots in my son's size in the store or in the mysterious remote location.

Given the fact that the winter season has not yet officially begun and the fact that this was the first actual winter weather to hit our area, I asked what I felt was a logical question.

"When will you be getting more boots?"

In an attitude I would prefer to not see again, one of the Target employees said, "Oh, we will not be getting any more boots in!". She then giggled AT ME, and continued, "We are making room for the sandals!"

Instinctually, I checked the date setting on my watch. Um... it is December, isn't it? I didn't accidentally sleep through four months and miss winter, did I? I said nothing, wrapped my children back up and headed off to Wal-Mart.

I am tired of being rushed from one season to the next. Truth be told, I will never need sandals in December... or January or February or even March! In Chicago, we will likely see little sun or grass until April and in my mind, it is best for me to spend these waiting months enjoying the season in which I am immersed.

In the past ten years, most stores have come to believe that every day is part of a marketing season and I have come to hate the way they sell their goods. A couple years ago, I shopped on December 26th and found Valentine's Day decorations being put up around the store. Still dressed in red and green, with a wilted fir tree in my living room, I could not have been more discouraged. I was not ready to think about February. I wanted to think about today. We are being "marketed" to death and in the mean time, what we need is rarely available at the time we need it. Target would like me to shop for boots in August but I just won't do it. We needed school shoes in August, which I was likely supposed to buy in June.

So, after all of this, my son now has boots and snow pants that fit. I am grateful to Wal-Mart for that. And I am more sure than ever that there is wisdom in a One Day at at Time approach to life. Today is December 11. Christmas has not come and gone but is in full swing. I want to listen to carols, sip hot cider, plan my gift giving and wear warm shoes. I do not want to think about warmer days when the glory of cold, blowy days and snowball fights and snowmen has just come to pass.

Stop pushing me, Target! My kids are only young once and I do not want to be in such a rush to get from season to season that I miss them laughing in the yard, with snowflakes on faces, making angels in the snow.

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