The first time I went shopping on Black Friday was the same year that Robert died.
My best friend who had done her very best to help me survive to that point invited me to go out with her and her husband and her sister and her husband. Really, she sorted blue bins, laughed with me, cried with me, made scrapbooks out of Roberts letters to me, looked at the paperwork that was coming in from the accident with me. Answered the phone at all hours, really. Hmmm...shopping at the butt crack of dawn with only grown ups. Sounded like fun, so I went with it.
I looked at my budget and decided that I would go. That first Thanksgiving was horrible for me. I cried most of the day. My pain was so raw, because Thanksgiving was one of Robert's favorite holidays.
But, black Friday shopping was the FIRST new tradition that I started for myself. It was the first time that I did something that had no memory of Robert attached to it.
And I had fun. It was busy, there were lines, but we were in good spirits and had fun looking for stuff for the kids. Man, I made a HAUL and didn't even come close to spending my budget!
Afterwards, we went to breakfast and we laughed and joked, I felt included and not widowed for those few hours.
Over the years, we have morphed a little bit. Her husband stays home and tends to her kids, glad that he doesn't have to go shopping. One year, we didn't go because my immediate family had an out of town Thanksgiving, but she did get my stuff for Munchkin for me.
Even though we have evolved, yesterday something struck me. This is one of the very few times a year that we get to hang out as just us. We have fun. We laugh, we talk and shop. Perhaps in another 30 years, we will still be doing this and be those CRAZY old people out on Black Friday...but we do have a pact-we CANNOT wear fuzzy awful shirts and polyester pants. Yoga pants and hoodies are however fair game!
Now, so many years later, I can see how awesome it was that I "accidentally" started a new tradition that I look forward to and enjoy.