It’s happened. My 11 yr. old – I don’t like the term tween, because she’s still a kid, maybe when she turns 12 she can be a tween – had a “play date” at the mall with a couple friends. This is surprising for one very specific reason. My daughter HATES to shop. Apparently, spending time with friends trumps her great distaste for all things shopping. She had earned $15 by doing chores and they were going to have lunch together.
We had worked it out that we would meet every hour or so and check in. My kid doesn’t have a phone – not in the family budget – but both the friends had a phone with them. Two times I ran into my girl she was sitting at a table watching the friends’ bags and purses while they shopped. She was completely content just hanging out. When Ella left the mall, she had no bags, just an empty wallet in her pocket. The other girls both had a couple items they had purchased.
When I queried Ella on where her $15 went she said lunch and the arcade. That seemed about right. It does, however, blow my mind that she spent $15 with absolutely nothing specifically to show for it. Her older siblings will, no doubt, once again rail about how much more privilege these younger kids have than they did. They would be right. Our pennies couldn’t possibly be pinched any tighter when they were growing up. We didn’t have a cent to spare just to feed and secondhand clothe those kids.
Walking around the mall for 4 hours – not ready just yet to drop 11 and 12 yr. olds off at a mall by themselves – I had plenty of time to shop. I went into many stores and even picked up some items, but then put them back realizing I really didn’t need them. I did end up buying a few $2 and $3 shirts and some Easter clothes, but the best thing I bought was lunch – for myself – by myself. It was a lovely hour long lunch with just me and my computer and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
What I said about my girl having absolutely nothing to show for her $15 was incorrect – she got a fun afternoon filled with memories of hanging with friends. All too soon having so much free time that you can just hang around a mall for four hours with friends and no time frame will come to an end. So, yes she got plenty for $15 and it was definitely worth it.