Shopping with daughters is always an adventure. When you have two (physically) identical ones, it is akin to riding Expedition Everest, complete with unexpected twists and turns and an occasional one-step forward, two-steps back feeling. Little did I know that I would have a great Disney realization this past weekend, while birthday shopping with my twin miracles. Here is my latest adventure.
The Scene: Justice. Not a courtroom, but THE measure of fashion if you love neon colors, sequins, and are a 9-13 year old girl. It is also a place that makes a mother of tween girls grip her purse, chug an Advil, and gulp heavily, as the bright lights, blaring “boy band” music, and prices are enough to make even the savviest Disney fan think that the Emporium during a torrential rain storm is fun, spacious, and economical. Bright posters in the windows advertise a 20% “flash sale”, which combined with the 40% off coupon I have brings the cost of an outfit down to about that of a car payment for a Ford Taurus.
The Occasion: My daughters’ tenth birthday. (How a decade has passed is a conversation for those willing to see me shake my head incredulously and shed a tear….) In any case, my beautiful little carbon copies wanted to go shopping for one another this weekend, in preparation for Friday’s big occasion. It was an unusually quiet weekend, and I relished taking each daughter out on a little excursion, just the two of us. Little did I know BOTH would drag me to the exact same store. (It is at this point, given that this IS a Disney blog, and not an advertisement for Justice Stores, that I should mention that the Justice in question is located next to an amazing, huge, remodeled….. Disney Store. This shall become a relevant detail.)
Day 1: The younger of the twins directs me to the mall. Her still-little hand slides into mine as we enter its doors and she skips to Justice. I eye the Disney Store longingly, but into Justice I dutifully follow. She flits about and insists on trying multiple outfits (“we ARE the same size after all, Mom.”) I enjoy the time and manage not to break into a sweat at the outfit and multiple accessories she selects for her womb-mate. “I have a coupon,” I remind myself.
When, finally, we make it through the snake-like line to the cashier, I sigh heavily and allow the outfit and varying ecoutrements to fall out of my arms into a heap on the counter. As I do so, my highly-prized Disney Dooney and Bourke purse falls with a thud among the clothes. “Oh, nice purse,” says the teen working the register. “I like Disney, too. I even have a Disney wallet.”
Having learned nothing from all previous, similar encounters, I engage, while simultaneously looking for the ever-vital, yet mysteriously-missing, 40% off coupon. “Oh, me, too, I say.” (Ladies, just an aside, have you ever noticed that no matter where you are, the very item you need most from your purse, ALWAYS, is at the very bottom???) I pull out the Mickey Mouse wallet… followed by the car keys with the THREE Disney keychains… and then the 3 Walt Disney World Resort pens. My checkbook with Mickey Mouse on the outside (naturally, with Mickey Mouse checks inside) follows and then, of course, crumpled at the bottom… the coupon. (I had just put it in the purse when I left, so how it migrated to the bottom in 30 minutes is beyond me… but I digress…) The teen surveys the damage as I say, “Here’s my coupon.”
“Whoa…….. You REALLY like Disney.” She snaps her gum and scans the coupon, as I try shoving everything back into the purse (it all came out, so it should all go back, right???)
My daughter returns from surveying One Direction pillows and cupcake-scented nail polish (would you believe it?) in time to hear this comment. “Oh, she doesn’t just like Disney. She is obsessed. Have you seen her shoes?”
This child who I carried in utero for 35 weeks and 6 days (yes, I counted) and who I have nurtured for 10 years threw me under the bus. Yes, on my feet were my prized (though highly misunderstood and often maligned) Ronald-McDonald Red, Minnie Mouse runDisney sneakers. The teen leans over the counter, and not knowing how else to respond, I pick up a foot to model my prized footwear. The gum cracks, and she looks at the shoes… then as she stands up, she notices the Disney shirt… “Wow… and you have a Mickey necklace and earrings, too?”
Feeling a bit like a specimen in a pitri dish, I hand her (you guessed it) my Disney Visa card, hoping to end the conversation. She looks at the bright pink image of Mickey and Minnie and slides it through the register with an eye roll. “You should really get a job next door,” she says, handing me my receipt and bag.
“I wish,” I think with a pang and take my bag. Running late, we leave the mall WITHOUT a stop in the Disney Store, a transgression I have never committed before. I drive home listening to my daughter chirp happily, but feeling uncharacteristically frustrated, for reasons I could not quite pinpoint.
Day 2: Like a scene out of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day,” I repeat the trip, with the older of my two daughters, holding my hand and skipping into the mall. The only difference today is the torrential rain, which forced me to leave my beloved runDisney shoes at home (can’t get those gems wet or dirty!)
My daughter, ironically, makes a bee-line for the EXACT SAME outfit her sister picked out, so I gently suggest alternatives, lest I make 2 Taurus payments for identical outfits for identical twins who REFUSE to wear identical clothes. When we make our way through the line once again, I laugh to myself and groan inwardly as I see the same cashier as the day before. I smile, and she surveys me–Disney shirt, Mickey earrings, a Chamilia bracelet with all Disney charms…. “Oh, you’re the Disney lady!!” She motions to the employee walking by, “This is that lady I told you about! You know, the one with all Disney?” She turns her attention to back me, “Oh hey!! Are you wearing those really red shoes?”
Oh no….. She was talking about me? Am I really I THAT unusual??? “No no… no shoes today. Didn’t want to get them wet.”
She chuckles, “oh of course….” I hand her my coupon (which I tucked safely in my pocket this time) and she says to her friend, “You should really ask her your question.” Intrigued and a little surprised, I look up, and this young woman says, “So, is it really worth it to stay on Disney property? I am planning a trip for my mom, and I can’t decide.” I beamed, and my inner self-consciousness melted away. My daughter and I began a 20 minute conversation with her, and she was gracious enough to direct some questions directly to my daughter, a little Disney expert in her own right. Yesterday, I had walked out of this tween nirvana feeling grumpy, and a little like I was somehow not “normal” because of my Disney fan-dom. But today, I had been called “that Disney lady,” and for whatever reason, it made my day! I was able to share my love (of course it is worth it to stay on property!) with a new fan, and feel validated for my head-to-toe love of Disney. I guess some days are just easier than others to be a Disney fan; like anything else, I suppose, some people get it, some don’t, and most just need to learn more to appreciate why we love what we do.
With the bounce back in my step, my eldest and I sauntered into the Disney Store next store. We reveled in the Monsters University merchandise and picked out new t-shirts for mommy and her daughters (to be worn at the WDW Radio New Jersey meet–4 WEEKS!) We settled into the little theater, watched movie clips, and colored our own versions of Vinylmations. It was 15 minutes worth of my happy place, shared with one of my favorite people in the world…. and it was worth more to me than any Justice coupon EVER could.
Happy 10th Birthday, my sweet Disney-loving girls! I love you more than you can know.