good lord, i hadn't set foot in a mall in years. seriously. that's how much love i have for the suburban mall. and i wouldn't go to the mall for anyone. except if that person was so flippin' cute that there was no way on earth i could ever say no. that person is of course, my 19 month niece.
to be clear, my first choice was to take her out to the park; somewhere where she could just run around, appreciating nature. but apparently, grandmom and dad trumps the aunt when it comes to hot, bright, sunny days which they did not want to expose her to for too much. so air-conditioned, fluorescent lighted, cheesy MOR top 40 adult contemporary songed, teenaged and family-filled mall on a weekend it is.
course, a child's idea of heaven is the toys 'r' us store. and as we were coming down on the escalator, we could hardly keep squirmy mcsquirm in our arms as she recognized what was looming in front of us. like a toy that's been wound up, we set her down and watched her excitedly tear down the corridor, squealing with delight and running jerkily, like only toddlers can.
once past the doors, she had to have her balloon on a stick to hold onto. not one to have her attention held for long, she ran down the aisles looking for something that she'd like to play with.
and this was where i knew this kidlet was MY niece. forsaken any dolls, blocks, light sabers or swimming noodles, all she only wanted was to climb inside a miniature car. as i put her in the car, i was beaming with an immense sense of pride. the apple does not fall far from the tree. kidlet takes after her aunt. i have a feeling she's going to take to traveling like white on rice, when she grows up.
actually, anything that can make her move made her face light up; more than any of the stuffed animals, rubber balls or candies that she got from those coin operated machines. the act of putting in a quarter and twisting the knob and having the booty slide out under the slot was more fun than the goodies itself. instant gratification. along with a touch of ADD.
but the real joy was the kiddies ride and moving carousel just outside the door, which had her begging to be put on the ride. and like automatons, us adults stood there, feeding these 2 minute rides the $2 charge, just to keep this little 'un happy. luckily, my brother otherwise known as my niece's personal bank machine (for she knows exactly which pocket to hit up for loonies, toonies and quarters) carries change for such occasions.
i had such joy watching her play, that i would've broken all the bills i had on me into loose change just so i could live vicariously through her for the day and bring flooding back the memories of my own childhood. to live in the moment without regretting the past or worrying about the future, now that is worth more than any currency on the planet.