I had a total "I met a man in Rome!" moment today. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you're my age-ish, you'll remember that line. For those of you who are too young to appreciate the Steve Martin gem from 1991, let me enlighten you. It's from the remake of "Father of the Bride"- Steve Martin's daughter has just returned from a year abroad and that's how she announces her engagement. Only, in the scene, the line is uttered by a little girl version of his now twenty something daughter.
Today, I rushed home from work, geared up to launch into the mess of dishes and laundry when my 13 year old announces that she needs a new swimsuit by TOMORROW. My kids just love this trick - we've just come out of an 8 week long summer break (summer here in New Zealand) where we had oodles of time to run those pesky little chores. But NOOOOO, let's wait until Mom is back at work and her patience and sanity are wearing as thin as...her repertoire of clever metaphors. So I piled the three kids into the car and happily joined the bustle of rush hour to head off to one of the only stores open past 6 pm. (Stores close early here. Really early. Like, "Oh, let's close the shops just as every working person is finishing work and able to spend their money on our goods" kind of early.) As soon as we enter the store, the boys (ages 4 and 8) scamper away to look at toys they can beg me for later.
My Girl 13 and I peruse the swimwear section for girls. Nope. Only brightly coloured fluorescent pink flowery numbers here. She's looking for plain black. No choice but to go to the women's section while I know in my heart that my skinny rail of a daughter won't find her fit there, but we are desperate. I rummage through the pile and manage to find the smallest size, a (NZ) 8 and tell her to try it. Just for the hell of it. Why not? We have no other options. While she's trying it on (over her under garments, don't freak) my boys are trying to entice me into buying the "amazing and so cool" Hot Wheels and Lego sets. NO. I will not cave, no matter how many "Please, please, pleases" they string together. Exasperated, I'm already thinking about how to talk her into one of those cute fluro numbers.
The dressing room door opens and there is my girl, wearing a size 8 and it FITS her. Fits her perfectly, without any tweaking or stretching of the imagination or wishful thinking. And just like that, we have paid for it and we're back in the car. She's not surprised at all, of course - why shouldn't it fit her? She's pretty much my size now, but to me, it was as if my Boy 8 slipped comfortably into hubby's work shoes. Not ready for this. Not ready for this at all. This just went hand in hand with the utter shock I felt over the weekend, as I read the words in a Word Search for the Puberty section in her Health Studies book. Oh my. But that's another story for another day.
This journey into being the mother of a teenager, a teenage GIRL is going to be a bumpy one. I need to get ready for this. They always say adolescence is a confusing time full of hormonal, emotional, and psychological changes.
I always thought this applied to the kids. How could I have been so stupid?