I remember a sweet moment when Patti was about 6. She had short hair and bangs. That’s how I wore my hair when I was a kid, and that’s what I decided looked good on her. I was the Mommy. I had the power.
But when she was 6, I couldn’t help but notice all the fashionable girls in first grade were wearing super pretty clothes and hair bands in their long, bang-free hair.
I asked Patti if I should stop cutting her bangs and let them grow out. At the time, I was brushing her hair behind her and we were both looking at each other into the mirror.
"Why?" she asked, surprised.
"Because lots of girls don’t wear bangs," I said.
"I don’t care about that, Mom," she smiled into the mirror at me. "I like my hair THIS way."
Ah yes, back in the day when I was the sun and moon and knew all.
Things have changed a bit.
Patti now has long flowing hair that she refuses to cut. Bangs are just a far away memory. But it looks good. I’m fine with her being stylish.
Doesn’t mean I have to have stylish hair.
Back then, she also preferred when I bought her clothes so she wouldn’t have to go to the boring store. Now, she finds it difficult to suppress a curled lip if I bring home clothes she hasn’t checked out first.
That’s OK. I was glad when she finally told me that she doesn’t like the "graphic look" – shirts with wild designs, words, colors and sparkles.
"I only want ONE color, Mom," she said, just a tad testily.
Great. She has good taste, I thought. But then again, I wear lots of graphic shirts. Maybe she just doesn’t want to wear them because I wear them? Or maybe my shirts went out of style last year and I’m just not paying attention, but she knows exactly what the trends are?
But that’s good. I’m glad she is stylish.
That doesn’t mean I have to be … I guess.
But even with shoes, man! I went to buy her the annual cute pair of sandals this year. She came with me and rejected every cute, patent leather pair of sandals with sparkles and flowers that the store had. But, but, but – she has always liked those sweet sandals with flowers. Why does she hate them now?
Rats. The kid is really growing up. She chose a pair of quasi-high-heel flipflops. Hot pink. Very happenin’.
But I can’t complain. Birds gotta fly. Fish gotta swim. My baby has to be her own girl. That’s simply how things work in nature. The offspring has to separate itself from the parent.
But yesterday maybe she took it one step too far. I asked Patti how I looked. Risky, I know, but I might as well make her fashion sense work for me somehow, right?
She looked me up and down, critically, and pronounced me all good except for my lipstick.
"What could possibly be wrong with my lipstick?" I asked. "It’s the same frosted pink lipstick I’ve been wearing for years?"
"Mom, that’s the color old ladies wear!"
Point taken. But, I’m guessing it’s time to let her know not to go too far. In some species, it’s also natural for parents to eat their young.