page contents

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


It's probably Disney's fault. Maybe my mother's. But despite my feminist inclinations, I can't resist the draw of a pretty dress. Frilly. Glamorous. Sophisticated. Whatever. I see pink sequin plaited on tulle or taffeta, I gush. It's an illness that began at a very young age. And it has a not-so-young age.

Every so often, an occasion comes along which necessitates the need for a fancy dress. The Oscars. A Kardashian wedding. Not that I've been invited to either of those events. Not yet anyway. In the meantime, as I await an invitation, I know someone who does have fancy dress written in her future.

Senior prom is a-coming

It's one of those precious times when Alex prefers to shop with me over her friends. Probably because she respects my impeccable taste and uncanny fashion sense. Or, maybe it's her affection toward my debit card. In this case, I'm quite glad to be the benefactor. I'm a sucker for any bit of her time.

Saturday was the day. We set off to find the dress. My mother even came along because it just felt like an event we should all share together. As we strolled through the mall together, I became wistful–especially at the sight of a Gymboree, recalling those glorious 2½ years when I had complete control of dressing my daughter without a skirmish. Things turned abruptly when my toddler established her voice, and consequent rejections of nifty outfits. I had always intended to raise a confident and independent girl. But I still wanted her to wear what I wanted her to wear. Nonetheless, I lost a few "what to wear" battles. More than a few, really.

I tried a number of techniques. Threats. Reverse psychiatry. Nothing worked. She was too smart. Eventually, I realized Alex needed to express through fashion, in various phases as most young people do. Interestingly enough, I have really come to appreciate her current sense of style. Now, I find myself stalking my 17-year-old's closet for tops and jackets that won't look ridiculous on a 40-something. Methinks there's been just a tiny bit of a style convergence! She might be mortified by the idea.

Anyway, back to the dress. My eyes kept floating to fantastical designs. Baby blue princess ball gowns, flowing organza, billowy skirts.  I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF. I begged, pleaded for her to give one of them a whirl. She refused–not even slipping one on to amuse me. Eventually I conceded my efforts after being lured into her more sleeker selections. (She seemed to know what she was doing.) The day was so successful, we narrowed the selection to two very pretty options. The final choice will be picked up on Friday when she and her father go for a fitting. (Isn't that sweet?)
The runner up dress...

Truly, I believe a transformation takes place when mothers takes daughters shopping for a prom dress, the obvious precursor to something bigger. As they transform into royalty, we see their spiritual beauty emulated as they announce themselves to the world.

I'm really not interested in ever wearing one of those dresses again...even if my Oscar invitation does arrive. It's now her time to shine, while I sit back, smile, and adore the person my daughter has become.

Monday, February 2, 2015

#Lessons from a 13-Year-Old Boy

My thirteen-year-old boy is fascinated by his changing self. If only I could be half as fascinated with my changing self...
Last Summer

As Cole inches upwards at full sail, I inch outwards–boasting a fresh layer of blubber around my middle. It's like I've placed an inner tube under my shirt for a humorous effect. But it's not funny. Except for when I laugh...and it jiggles. That's kind of funny.

While Cole scans his legs, underarms, and chin for "man" hair, my tresses are spewing out grays like an angry volcano. Perhaps my follicles are protesting from years of color jobs. I wish I could feel as elated about my gray strands as Cole feels when he's certain of a whisker on his chin. But I can not. I can only wonder how long my dye jobs will last. And if the color is damaging my brain. (BTW, Cole's whisker-discoveries are typically illusions only perceived by him. Or a pesky pet hair.) Needless to say, I'll admit I'm too vain to worry about brain damage for now.

Cole and I do share one common affliction, which I suppose is kind of special for a mother and son. Skin blemishes. Zits. Blackheads. Sure, his skin is still pretty beautiful–not quite as unyielding or age-spotty as mine, but both of us sport a few red spots here and there. It's really the only thing that makes him sort of look like a teenager–and the fact that he's almost taller than me now. AND, it's about the only thing that makes me still feel young! Acne!

The other day Cole shouted out, "Oh Mom! I had a great day! Guess what happened?"

I paused from whatever important task I was tending to. Cole had been studying pretty hard lately. Perhaps it had finally paid off! Perhaps he had been selected for something special! The tone of voice indicated something great...

"Well, Mrs. Schaben called out to me in the hallway and said 'Cole?'"

Mrs Schaben was going to recognize him for something! I was already feeling proud, wondering what he had done and what honor he was going to receive.

"She said, 'Your voice is really getting low.'"

Cole just looked at me and smiled.

"Was that the story?" I asked.

He nodded with a big grin. "Isn't that awesome? It was like the best day after she told me that."

I nodded and grinned. To be so enthused with one's own maturation? Well, perhaps it is a gift–a gift I could learn to appreciate myself as well. I guess. After all, aging isn't the worst. Not the best, but not he worst. It can be humbling, but it does teach us to laugh at ourselves. It should anyway.