I’ve always thought of July 4th as the mid-point of summer break. Give or take a week or two, the summer break will soon be over, and the hustle and bustle of school days will once again fill our days.
Recently, on one of our many leisurely paced summer afternoons, my non-driving teenager looked up from the sofa, were he’d been watching a mid-morning marathon of Pawn Stars, to tell me how bored he was.
Bored? Really? “Well, what do you want to do?”, I asked, already anticipating the answer.
“Can’t we go sommmmewherrrre?”
Now keep in mind it was about 147 degrees outside, and the very thought of getting out, even for a quick trip to the grocery store, seemed like an adventure I was not up for! But because I love my sweet son, I asked if he wanted to go to my favorite place in the whole world?? Target!
“Target? Mom! Can’t we go someplace fun?!”
Are you kidding? Target isn’t fun? It’s like fun concentrate for a mom, but I guess not so much for a teen. “Ok, where do you want to go?” Thinking to myself ~please not the mall ; don't say the mall~!
“How about the mall?”
Ugh. He said it. The mall! What is it about teenagers and the mall? I remember wanting to go to the mall back when I was in high school, too. I think (if my middle-aged memory serves me well) it was because there were other teenagers there, doing absolutely nothing, but walking around and giggling. We would walk into stores and try on silly hats, or costume jewlery. We'd hang out in front of Orange Julius, and dare someone to walk into Spencers. We were nice kids who pretty much had no idea how to even use the paraphernalia found in Spencers, but wouldn't let anyone else in on our naivety.
The mall seems like a waste of time. But that’s because I’m forty---something. I have a goal oriented outlook on life. I shop because I need to buy stuff, not for the "fun" of it. Maybe I’ve forgotten how to enjoy wasting an entire afternoon, doing nothing but walking around the mall. Hmmm.
Adulthood comes too quickly. Before you know it, there are bills to pay, and responsibilities which to attend. It’s good to be a goofy teenager. To walk around the mall and look at all the silly kiosks. Trying on sunglasses, fake hair, and perusing the video game store. There’s nothing wrong with (occasionally) gorging oneself on an Aunty Anne’s buttery pretzel, or an Orange Julius. It’s a good time of life, and I can’t help but want my own teen to experience it.