When I was 17 I convinced my mom that we should go shopping for black friday. Now this was twelve years ago and things were different back then. The first year we went out it was because several stores offered free items for showing up. It was there way of getting you out to their store on black friday. I remember a cookie tin at K-mart but not much else. The other thing I do remember is that we went to bed on Thanksgiving night because the stores didn't open until five or six in the morning.
The next year is more vivid in my memory. We went to JcPenny's and stood in a long line to get some free snow globes they were offering. Again it was in the morning probably five or so. The line wasn't very long maybe fifty or so people. My mom went outside for cigarette break and they happened to open the doors to let us in. Instead of being smart and handing out one to each person they had a table set up in the middle of the fragrance section. People ran to the table mobbing it. There were boxes with, I think 12 globes per box. People would grab a box and then just dump it in there bag. I found myself in the middle of this crowd not really sure how to handle it. But kept moving forward, I did want one to. When I got to the front, me being me, tried to start handing them back. I thought start handing them out and people would get what they want and the crowd wouldn't be crazy. But people didn't understand what I was trying to do. They just wanted to get to the front. So I took two, one for my mom and one for me, and got out of the crowd.
My mom was on the side of the crowd and she had tears in her eyes. "What's wrong mom?" I asked. She gave me a big hug. She explained how they had also opened the doors outside at the same time and she saw me in the middle of the crowd trying to help people in the middle of the madness and she was just so proud of me. I never forget that. I think it is one of my favorite memories of my mother.
I think we had one more black friday together. The stores opened at midnight and it was crazier out. There weren't as many free items so we just bought a few things and headed home. After mom died I have always gone out on black friday. It was like this tradition that I wanted to hold on to. That if I let this tradition go then it would be letting part of my mom go. So every year I would go and brave the crowds and buy something. Usually nothing important. In fact last year I found myself standing in a Toys-R-Us parking lot waiting to get in to buy some toy my nephew. The deal was ok but it was just silly to go out but it is this need. Even when I don't intend to I go out anyways.
This year is different. Months ago I had so, no black friday shopping. I remembered how last year I spent more money then I had on things I don't even use. I bought a stack of movies I haven't watched most of them more than once. In fact I was so caught up in the buying that I bought a movie that was blu ray only and I don't have a blu ray player. So this year I was like no shopping.
Well God heard me and He agreed. This year I have no money. I did a lot of praying this last weekend and God provided the money to take me through the end of the month. I have just what I need to pay for my obligations. If I spend anything on black friday I will come up short. I knew this. I feel like this walking on the edge is partly so that I won't be able to shop today. But it has been so hard.
I had Wednesday off work. My dad was in town and he and my brother for a large portion of the day sat at the kitchen table looking at online ads figuring out what to buy and comparing prices. They even went shopping at one point. Then today Thanksgiving we had the paper so of course we talk about shopping ads all day long. It gets under my skin knowing that part of me just wants to go out. It's my tradition and I have to keep that tradition to remember my mom. But then I remind myself that I still have that memory even if I don't go shopping for black friday. This year I bought a necklass with my mom's name and the date of her death on it. I don't always wear it but I did today. I had to keep her close to me. I had to remind myself that I am not letting her down, I am not forgetting her. I am just moving forward.
So here I sit typing on my computer with my sister-in-laws laptop next to me. My brother and his wife are out shopping but they want to order something online for her mother so I agreed to stay up and purchase it for them. I have to check every hour in case they post it early. I was doing just fine with it until I am reminded again of what I am doing. My younger brother walks in the house with the items he bought at a black friday sale. Then my dad wanting to play the "black friday game" starts talking about how he has his computer set up to help buy it incase I don't get it in time. He goes on and on about it and I don't want to hear it. I want to just go to my room but I know that he is too tired to stay awake another hour and I told my brother I would buy it and so I sit and listen to my dad ramble about how excited he is and the technical process of purchasing the item first. It is that rush, that feeling of excitement in the stores that I have come to love and associate with the black friday memory of my mother. It makes me anxious and can not stand it. I eventually speak up. Asking them to please stop talking about it. I am just going make a purchase online, its not a big deal and I need it not to be. I do not tell them how it affects me. I do not explain how emotional this day is for me. Because not only am I fighting this tradition I have with my mother who is gone all day I have thought about my sister and my brother-in-law and my nephews who I miss so very much. And it is too much.
Tomorrow they will talk about all the things they bought. I may try to escape but where would I go. Everywhere people will be out buying things and spending money and it will be in my face. So if you do not hear from me tomorrow it is because I am hiding in my room. Trying not to let black friday get to me. Trying to not let myself feel like I have ruined the memory of my mother because I did go out like I have for years now.