The girls met some friends at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis today to celebrate the fourteenth birthday of their friend Chelsea and I designated myself as the mom who was going to follow them from store to store, lurking around outside (there aren't nearly enough places to sit in Castleton Square) and waiting for the herd of seven girls to exit, say, Bath & Body Works, so that I could follow them to the next store, say Aeropostale, and wait outside there. As it turns out, I am not one of those moms who is ever going to just drop my kids off at the mall and let them roam around unsupervised and Aisling told me that my methods of Teen Tracking and Security were about as subtle as a punch in the face.
"Don't you trust us?" wailed my friend Bridget's daughter Emily when I told her that she couldn't walk down to Borders with Meelyn. I squinched up my eyes to gaze down the long, long corridor with Borders at the end of it, looking small and far away.
"Oh, I trust you just fine," I replied, looking back at Emily. "But the other people, the ones who might try to snatch your purse or brush up next to you and pick your pocket or whatever? It's them I don't trust. And I prefer to have you in my sights so that if I see someone grab your purse -- or you -- I can run up behind them and make them deeply sorry they were ever born."
We walked around the mall for about an hour, me tagging along behind them, and by the time they went in the final store of their choice, I was completely tired of walking around and wanted to go straight home and put on my slippers. As I was shifting from foot to foot and more or less patiently waiting for my little herdlings to come back out of the shop they were in, I happened to see this large plushy white bear in the window of the candy store next door.
He looked, I decided, exactly like I felt, like he'd plopped down with an "oof!" and a dim hope that someone would ask him if he'd like a foot rub.
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