I should have known.
This is a child that came to me when she was four. Tiny
and beautiful, she had her palms clasped together and a
huge smile on her face. This picture of innocence asked
me, "Mommy, want to see what I found?"
"Sure," I said, caught up in her excitement and
temporarily forgetting just who this child really was and
what she's really made of.
She unclasped her hands and a large black cricket jumped
onto my shirt making me screech and jump link a fool.
I should have remembered this fact, but we mothers are
very short on memory. That's why we remain hopeful. My
daughter certainly received a few snips and snails and
puppy dog tails when she was developing. She hasn't worn a
dress since she was two. That was the last time I could
choose her wardrobe without wailing and gnashing of teeth.
You can imagine my surprise when she came to me and
announced, "I need something to wear to the High School
Homecoming dance. Do you think we could
go shopping?" Fortunately, my heart jumping to my throat
squelched the feminine squeal that threatened to erupt
from my excitement.
'Play it cool,' My instinct told me. "You could scare her
off if you're not careful." "Okay, great." I said like
this was an everyday occurrence. "You weren't thinking of,
a . . .dress, were you?" I asked, with distaste dripping
from my tone, like someone had suggested ordering liver on
"No, I think my baggy jeans and t-shirt will look out of
place next to someone all dressed up." I almost wept.
Forgetting everything I know about this child, I took her
She is, by all appearances sake, except for the baggy
jeans, the enormous t-shirts, and the sloppy sneakers, a
young woman. Our first purchase was a pair of black,
velvet pants. That was so easy, I was buoyed into a false
sense of security. After all, half the job was done. All
we needed now was a blouse. This is when she announced her
"No sequins, nothing floral, no ruffles, and nothing see
through (with or without a camisole), and by the way Ma, I
don't want it to be plain." What did that leave?
We went through every shop in the mall. Most of the things
I found that fit her criteria were instantly criticized as
being too, "old." That word cut me like a knife! That has
to be the worse insult given to a woman over forty. I'm
now so old I don't even recognize old lady clothing when I
pick it out. Most of the items, of course, are things I
would love. Hmmmm
We finally found the blouse in the very last store. It was
red, with sparkles (not sequins) and it was lovely.
I was buoyed once again, enough that I let her lead me to
the shoe shop.
What can I say? Fatigue had set in.
We both saw the shoes at the exact same time. They looked
like steel toe workman shoes, without the steel. They had
a thick wide sole like orthopedic specialty shoes, like
Herman Munster use to wear.
"Those are the ugliest shoes I have ever seen in my life,"
I foolishly snickered. "I wouldn't even buy those for your
brother." My daughter opened her palms. Out jumped the
cricket. "I want those."
Nothing else would please her.
Let me say, she looked lovely (from the ankles up). The
black pants made the black shoes almost unnoticeable.
When she arrived home, flush from the excitement of
dancing and enjoying herself, she let me know, "All the
girls took off their high heels to dance. There was a pile
of shoes to the ceiling. I bet most of them couldn't even
find the shoes they came in." But not my girl! No way,
those babies never left her feet.
I've decided to bronze them and put them on the coffee
table, with a little sign engraved at the base . . .
"Remember the cricket."
I write a weekly column for the Washington Examiner
I currently live in Gaithersburg, MD with my husband, four
children, two dogs, guinea pigs, cat and hermit crab. I
thrive on chaos, except of course, when it makes me crazy.
By the way, crazy is grossly underated!