Clothing my Amazon girl

By Kris Ferrazza | Aug 20, 2020

A letter came in the mail the other day. It was from my old friends at Target. They were worried about me.

“We’ve noticed you haven’t used your Target RedCard in awhile. Is everything okay?” it began. I laughed out loud, turning heads from the neighbors who wondered why I was cackling at the mailbox.

Target’s concern is understandable. My daughter and I have gone from being “regulars” to completely dropping out of sight. They haven’t seen hide nor hair of us since March. Truth be told, I think we miss them more than they miss us.

My teenage daughter and I reminisce fondly about our pre-pandemic shopping days. It seems like a lifetime ago. We used to stroll the aisles, relaxed and sipping Starbucks. We were focused on iPhone accessories, snacks for our lunch boxes, dog treats and beauty supplies. In those days, Clorox wipes, Purell and face masks were the furthest things from our minds.

We had no idea how good we had it.

For 20 long weekends we have been pining for those leisurely weekend shopping trips. My 14-year-old and I would hit the open road mid-morning, stop somewhere for lunch, then browse the day away. I remember doing that with my own mom. It’s a rite of passage, I guess.

Then the pandemic hit. My first thought was that all that shopping had finally paid off, since we had enough snacks, cleaning supplies and clothing to last a lifetime. But as the weeks rolled by, I was surprised at how quickly our stockpile dwindled.

During the quarantine, Elizabeth and I worked alongside one another all day every day. On one side of our big, sunny living room I recorded picture book read-alouds for my library students, attended virtual staff meetings, and took part in online teaching via Zoom classes. Meanwhile, my daughter was a few feet away doing distance learning at her own school. She would view videos from her teachers, toil away at math homework, write essays, and then break for some yoga when it was time for PE.

As our world got smaller, I couldn’t help but notice my daughter was getting bigger. I’m not talking about gaining “the quarantine 15.” She was growing right before my eyes. Finally, one June morning, she bounded down the stairs and I knew it was time to admit the truth.

“I think you finally passed me in height,” I confessed.

“I did?” she beamed.

We turned and stood back-to-back so my husband could render the verdict. Yup, she definitely was taller. She grinned and took a victory lap around the kitchen. I was surprised only by the fact it took so long. I had predicted she’d pass me in grade six.

As the weather got warmer, she started to discard outgrown clothing. Nearly every week I would find a tidy little stack of shirts, shorts and pajamas on my bed. This was the discard pile. Her lanky arms and legs made everything she owned look miniaturized. Finally, as we prepared to fill our backyard swimming pool, she announced all of her bathing suits were too small.

I summoned the courage to go into her room, and looked in the dresser.

“Where did all of your clothes go?” she asked, scanning the empty drawers.

“I think I outgrew them all,” she said.

We silently marveled at the sight. Normally this bureau would be jammed to overflowing with clothing. I used to rail about not being able to close the drawers because they were so full. So it was odd to see the bottoms of the wooden drawers. Inside, there were a few random articles of mismatched clothing: patterned yoga pants, stretched and faded swimsuits, a sparkly top, pink belt and dressy sweater for winter.

Ever the optimist, I pointed out the good news: she did have two or three presentable outfits. (They were in the laundry.) Since we rarely leave the house, it doesn’t really matter what she wears. We could get by for a while. It was cold comfort.

As summer rolled on with no shopping trips in sight, we took our chances and started buying online. Oddly enough, I had to turn to Amazon to clothe my own little Amazon warrior. We crossed our fingers and picked out a few bathing suits. They fit. We moved on to T-shirts and athletic shorts, thinking they would be quite forgiving. We lucked out there too.

Once we got the ball rolling, it was hard not to keep ordering things. We would scroll through the items, oohing and ahhing over cute clothes just like we used to do in the stores. After we picked out a few things, we’d make sure we had free shipping and hit “complete order.” It was safe, fun and oh-so-exciting when the packages arrived at the house. Christmas in July. The highlight of every day.

Land’s End, Old Navy, Amazon… the boxes just kept coming. Since we were home and my husband was at work, we usually could intercept the packages before he saw them. Then one day he sorted the recycling and found he was breaking down cardboard boxes at a record rate.

The jig was up and we knew it.

So I’ve tried to scale back our online shopping trips, which essentially had replaced our beloved weekend jaunts. Even my iPhone seems to know what is going on, as it showed me a funny meme the other day that read, “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t need anything from Amazon today.”

To that I say two things: first, you don’t know me, iPhone. Second, I hear Target is offering curbside pickup.

And the beat goes on.

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