What would cause a gal leave the beauty and serenity of a sunny summer day at the lake? A trip to the mall, unfettered by children or time restraints, that’s what!

First, let me share a few things you may not know about me:
1) I’m a mall rat. Big ones, small ones, doesn’t matter. I just like them.
2) I have three kids under the age of seven, the youngest of whom has been a very attached nursing baby for 10 months.
3) I have no family or friends nearby upon whom I can foist off my kids for frivolous reasons like mall excursions.
4) I like saying “whom” but I’m never quite sure I’m using it correctly. But I digress.

So today, I left my three children in the capable hands of my mom and husband, and I hopped in my car. Alone. And turned on my iPod. Loud. And I listened to every rock song that came up on my playlist, regardless of the lyrics or the decibel level, while I drove to the  nearest mall.

I spent about 45 minutes in a gift shop, never once saying, “Don’t touch that!” or “Children, quiet please!” where I leisurely selected my first Vera Bradley purse, completely unhurried and unpressured by rambunctious or demanding children.

After leaving the gift shop, I passed by the food court without a single request or demand for a soft pretzel or an icee.

Then I located the Gap, where I spent well over an hour trying on anything I wanted. And I never once had to call children back from hiding in the clothing racks or peeking under dressing room doors. Nor did I have to pause my deliberations to nurse a baby, replace a paci, or chase down a wandering toddler.  I left with three new tee-shirts and a pair of denim capris (that I will probably return because Paul says they look like Elly May Clampett.)

I walked the entire length of the mall, wandering in and out of any store I felt like, taking my time as if I didn’t have a care in the world. Finally I strolled to my car and drove back to camp, arriving to the boisterous welcome of my children.

Life is good.