Imagine it’s the year 2011. I’m a junior in high school and just turned 17. I made plans with two of my friends — both males — to go Black Friday shopping. They were going to pick me up around 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving so we could be in State College by 11 p.m. We didn’t really have a plan, we just wanted to be out in the craziness. We were probably just going to walk around a few stores and then grab a bite to eat at McDonald's.
My parents, at least my mom, had originally given me permission to go Black Friday shopping with my friends. But when they realized I’d be leaving at 10 p.m. on Thursday, rather than 8 a.m. on Friday, they quickly changed their minds. My mom informed me that I absolutely would not be spending hours with two strange boys she doesn’t know in crowded stores in the middle of the night.
I assured her these two “strange boys” were harmless. They were my age and after all, this has been planned for days! It would be too embarrassing to tell them I couldn’t go anymore because my mom wouldn’t let me.
For at least an hour, I begged for them to let me go. This was going to be the best night of my life, something I would look back on years from now and remember how much fun we had. I’d tell my kids about the time I went Black Friday shopping with friends and bought ridiculous items. I asked them to think back to when they were 17, wouldn’t they have wanted to go, too?
My parents did not change their mind and I spent the rest of the night locked away in my room.
Now, eight years later, I haven’t talked to these two high school friends in years and I’m sure they don’t remember that I had to back out last minute. I don’t even know — had I gone — if it’s something that would stick out in my mind all these years later. But in the moment, it was something I had to be a part of.
I recently asked my parents if they remembered not allowing me to go — they did — and my mom said exactly what she said eight years ago. It’s her job to protect me and she didn’t want me running around with a group of boys she didn’t know. I suppose it’s a valid reason.
I’ve still never experienced going out Thanksgiving night to go shopping. But for the past few years I’ve gotten up early Friday morning and gone shopping with my mom. It’s a fun day and something I look forward to every year. We pick out Christmas gifts, help each other shop and usually get something to eat after a long day of running around and standing in lines. This is something I will remember in years to come and a memory I’ll cherish. But I’ll still remind her about the year she “ruined my life” because I wasn’t allowed to go Black Friday shopping.