Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hats Off

We had one of those uncomfortable moments occur today where I was faced with a parenting decision I wasn't sure how to make.

My daughter wanted to leave the house looking like this:

(Me looking like that is a different story entirely).

She thought she looked adorable. There was no doubting that. But I also didn't want the general population thinking I was that mom who forced her kid to wear a crash helmet out in public.

And then I remembered a story from my youth. I showed up at elementary school one day having inexplicably worn the same outfit as one of the most stylish, popular girls in my class. Of course her top and skirt were put together impeccably, and she pulled the whole outfit together with a clever, super-wide belt. I might as well have shown up wearing a garbage bag. I knew the next time I wore that outfit, I, too, would be sporting a super-wide belt and looking equally as fabulous. The problem was that I didn't own one. I ransacked my closet and finding nothing, I rifled through my mom's. No luck. I happened to be up in our playroom/gym when I saw it: a tan, superwide belt that would tie my outfit together perfectly. The next morning I put on my top and skirt and belt and went down to the kitchen. My mother just stared at me and took a large sip of coffee. Finally:

Mom: They'll let you wear that to school?
Me: Of course! This is what everybody's wearing. It's fine!
Mom: ...okay.

And she let me go to school wearing my father's weight belt.

His weight belt. Was I a complete and utter jackass? Absolutely. Was I called out by the same girl whose style I was trying to steal. You betcha. And I love my mom for that. I love that she loved me enough to let me make my own mistakes rather than wage and lose yet another battle with her stubborn preteen. That I looked like I was ready to pahmp (clap) her up was besides the point. She respected me enough to let me make my own decisions and stick by them. Or maybe she just needed a huge laugh to get her through the day. Whichever.

With that in mind, I resigned to take the toddler in the crash helmet to the store. It was at that moment her inherited claustrophobia kicked in and she clawed at the helmet, screaming OFF! OFF! until her father and I managed to shoe horn it off her noggin.

Crisis averted. I can only hope another deus ex machina will strike the next time I need to act like a parent.

1 comment:

Carmen said...

You should win the Pulitzer ( and a big hug from me) for this one!