And much as Bree and I vow every year to not end up in the fray, we are invariably yanked into the vortex that is the post holiday-season mall for some present we forgot, overlooked or simply didn't feel like hauling cross-country. This time SB, guilty by association, was hauled into the vortex with us.
I won't speak of the 45 minutes it took us to find parking or the 3 times we got hopelessly lost in a place where the ground floor is actually considered the 2nd floor.
There was one shining moment in the whole fiasco. There was a fantastic merry-go-round - complete with every animal, real and imagined. After gazing at it longingly each time we passed by, Otter was rewarded with a ride. We chose a horse with a fish tail. A mer-horse? A hor-phin? All went well for the first 10 seconds. Then Otter noticed the panda and her heart, already filled with panda-obsession flowed over. "Deda! Deda! Deda!" continued the chant. Nothing could be done except a second ride - this time on the panda. The carousel spun around and around while hordes of shopper jostled past. Unfazed, SB sat on the panda, smiling happily.
And somehow that made it all ok...