Friday, October 22, 2010

Growing Old and Growing Young

It has been 8 weeks since my daughter Christine moved to Miami. It was a good thing. With the help of a new loving friend, she decided to pull together all the things she loves and make a new life on her terms. I give her credit for being so sure of herself and be willing to leave her comfort zone. It was the natural thing to do - to take the plunge when you are young enough to recover. The problem was how those left behind, me, go on. We have been through hard times, my daughter and I. She was a rebellious kid during her middle school and high school years and I was a busy mom. It would have been nice if she took the straight path while I tended to the things that I needed to do. Plan their activities, cook their meals, and be the mom. It seemed to be a simple request but it was not to be. She was experimental and I had lots more to do but much more to learn. She was growing up and I needed to grow down. I needed to learn to understand what it was like to be part of her world. Life is funny and many times, you make up the rules as you go along. As it turned out, I taught her to be mature, and she taught me to be young. I often said I did not want to be one of those mothers that complained about the music of the day, that technology was too challenging and the current fashion styles were not for me. Somewhere in the early 90s, shirts were not tucked into the waistband anymore and jeans were constructed with lycra (that eliminated the bags in your ass). It was not until the day my daughter said to me "don't be afraid of the new styles, mom. They are your friend". Her words made sense. I was wearing baggy ass jeans with boring tops, tucked into the waist band. This was 1995 and time to free myself of the suburban housewife standard costume of sweatpants, sweatshirts and sneakers. Enter the straight leg, lycra blend jeans with a "huckapoo" style shirt, untucked topped with a purple suede jacket. Yes, thanks to my daughter, I was released. In the course of raising children, I discover how my daughter matured to a sensible woman. She then raised me to be part of the 21st Century. I started shopping at Express and Anthropology (within reason) as an alternative to Ann Taylor. I learned you can get something from each of these stores and not become the stereotype of a person who gave up fashion to be boring. My younger co-workers love that I dress a little youthful but with a sense of style. My daughter brought that to me. She reminded me of who I was before I was a mom. As I said, she is living in Miami now. I am surrounded by my boys. They tease me, make me laugh and love me. But to them, I am their mother. To my daughter, I was her mother but also her companion. It is a different relationship. Each are great, but each are different. Today, I wore a white bra under a white T-shirt. I was not sure it looked right but I wore it to work anyway. At work, I asked a young girl in my department if she thought it looked alright. She commented, in a polite way, that she thought I could get away with it. My daughter would have told me the truth. I'm glad she went but I miss her.