I feel like a lot of my writing about parenting lately has an”it gets better” theme. But I have to say, I am enjoying my kids more and more each passing day during this season of life. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always enjoyed being a mom. But when the kids were little, those peaceful, happy moments together were also interspersed with diaper changes and tantrums and cleaning food off the floor. I wrote last week about how life has gotten so much easier, and yesterday I had an experience that put that into sharp focus . . .
I took a kid to the mall.
A little backstory – I used to love going to the mall. It’s hard to imagine that now because it’s now something I abhor, but wandering the mall was one of my favorite pre-kid past-times. Then I had kids, and for a couple years I really tried the old “I’m going to do all the things I did BEFORE having kids” philosophy. And then life laughed in my face and I had one too many diaper blow-outs or puking children in front of Nordstroms at South Coast Plaza, and by kid #4 I was really barely leaving the house. Thank God for Amazon prime, AMIRITE?
It has been years since I braved the mall with a child in tow. This Sunday, though, I had to go the mall to replace some makeup. (I left my makeup bag in a hotel in Ethiopia which was a rather expensive mistake.) So I was on my way out with the kids happily playing at home under Mark’s watch, when India asked if she could go with me.
And then she asked if we could wear matching outfits.

So we changed into our black tank-tops and matching striped maxi skirts and set off for the mall, with no small trepidation on my part because of past experiences. 

I am happy to report . . . we had a blast. She loved looking at all the makeup in the MAC store (and trying a bit on in Sephora.) We browsed some clothing shops and she pointed out her favorite dresses in Madewell and we bought some scented hand sanitizer for her siblings and sampled perfume and stopped into Godiva and IT WAS LOVELY. It was like I was exposing her to a whole new world. 
And yes, she might have gone a little extreme with her makeup.

And yes, I might have spent a bit more than I had planned in Bath and Body Works because she was JUST SO CONVINCING about the lip gloss and the scented candles and the body spray that she just had to have, but I was just so happy to be having this fun, carefree time with my daughter that, a couple years ago, would have been very stressful.

As I tucked her into bed, I told her how much fun I had with her, and that I could see us going to the mall together for fun when she is a grown-up too. She smiled widely and hugged my neck, and I thought, again, how much I’m loving this stage of parenting.

And how expensive this is gonna be.