Summer is coming to an end.
No matter how much time seems to pass, it sneaks up on me each and every time.
As I type this, I am living in a home with two teens preparing for this week’s “Round Up” at Oakdale High.
Summer for us this year was much different than when they were little. Somehow my trip planning radar went by the wayside these past few years, so that tradition will need to resume next summer.
As I’ve shared in a previous column one now has a job, while the other was busy with summer camp, a theater production and they both had to suffer through summer school. Pandemic casualties, I like to call it. Not all students returned to school with the same fervor and tenacity post-distance learning, so summer school became a thing.
That in and of itself could be its own column topic, much different when I was young.
As the weeks have snuck up on us however, I have managed to take a minute and steal some time with my now busy teens. Those with teens know of which I speak, the days they are fleeting and while it might be hard to grasp those moments it’s not lost on this momma.
So last week I managed to steal a day with my daughter to do a little shopping and take in a movie. Two things we hadn’t done together in quite some time.
In honesty, I’m really not an in-person shopper. Unless it’s a stop by Oakies, Cotton and Sage or “Aunt Lana’s” (Lana’s Spur of the Moment), I’d rather just break out my phone or laptop and let mail delivery fill those needs.
I forgot what it was like to shop with a 15-year-old girl, yet I was quickly reminded when I caught the look on my daughter’s face after hearing my feedback to an item in her hand. That look I’d seen before, on my own face to my own mother decades before. Oh, how clueless moms can be.
Splitting ways while shopping, I quickly racked my brain for how I would recover from the slip up. This was to be fun after all and I’m a cool mom … didn’t she know this?
Somehow by the grace of God and a cute boho looking dress, I regained my footing. Sheepishly showing it to my teen, I asked what she thought. Followed of course by a “This would look so cute on you.” To my delight she agreed that it was cute and smile at the notion that not only was it the right size but at my thought of how it would suit her.
This one simple dress allowed an opening in dialogue which prompted her to show me more “looks” of styles she liked and so the hunt began.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share here that my formal training (in college) was fashion and home design. Yep! The girl who has spent the past two decades penning words for this publication earned her degree as well as her early professional kudos as a clothing buyer for several large retailers. It was a good run indeed and a love for “styling” still runs pretty deep in my veins, even if it is just to aid my kids and friends on occasion with finding a certain look.
That afternoon I felt as if I were in my groove again with one of my toughest clients to date, my 15-year-old daughter. As she showed me looks and I returned with pieces, her squeals and smiles were better payment than those early career paychecks. Knowing my place and a bit insecure in this “new job,” I found myself sharing it was okay if she didn’t like what I picked, “you won’t hurt my feelings” I said over and over. Yet she reassured me with her giggles and smiles that she was indeed happy with my findings.
Still on the hunt, I did learn of her honesty as I recovered yet another cute top only to be informed that it was a little too “mom like.” Not a problem. While I myself may not have worn that top, I’m sure there is a mom out there that really would have rocked it.
With a haul of several tops, a dress and a few other things we made our way home so she could do what girls do and share with her friends. I remember that too.
Wrapping up the day at the movies proved to be a great home run, as we escaped the 100-plus temps to recline in the comfort of the Riverbank theater. No different than our shopping trip, I was a bit nervous on the movie selection. “Elvis” would be the flick we escaped to. As an avid singer, dancer, performer I felt it important for her to see and know the history. She on the other hand was persuaded by the review of her Memaw; and so we went.
Once again my nerves proved to be for naught, as she was sucked in from the very start and enjoyed it as much as the rest of the audience which was decades older than her.
Driving home we engaged in more conversation about the film and the tragedy of the life of a man so gifted.
In short, I learned a few things that day; 15-year-old girls can make you nervous. I laugh as I type that, as very little makes me nervous. Yet as a mom in touch with the reality ahead these moments are both meaningful and special. Maintaining connection with our teens is important now more than ever. As parents we are competing with so much, so many distractions, so much outside influence.
I’m grateful for these moments with my duo. Grateful they humor me a bit and don’t find me completely embarrassing. I’m equally grateful to the friends they have who share they think their mom is “cool” and that they actually tell me.
So, here’s to the start of another “new year” and what’s to come. Continue to live all those moments dear friends, time is waiting for no one.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.