Wisdom Comes Suddenly

The Sowing And The Reaping

August 1st, 2012 · 10 Comments

I like to tell my Mother I was a perfect child, which while SO CLOSE to the truth, isn’t the WHOLE truth.  I was opinionated.  I was sassy.  Oh God…so sassy.  I wasn’t a sympathetic child, not exactly counterbalanced by my liberal sharing of my honest thoughts and feelings.  When a close friend in elementary school showed me her parents wedding album, I couldn’t help but notice the wedding date was embossed on the front page.  I asked her point blank if she realized her Mother had been pregnant with her on her wedding day? It wasn’t a statement of judging; to me it was just math. Did I mention I announced my math prowess in front of her Mother?  And a living room full of ladies visiting for the afternoon?  Sometimes I wonder why anyone who knew me prior to 1995 even claims me.

There was sowing.  And now there is reaping.

Yesterday morning Kelly was preparing for not only Princess Power Camp, but an afternoon to be spent with her favorite little pal at Chuck E. Cheese.  Clearly, a wardrobe dilemma was upon us.  Kelly put on a cotton and sequined skirt, an old white tshirt, insisted upon wearing her Nutcracker Pearl Necklace, her new silver dolphin bracelet from Pa Pa Bill, all of which she covered with a beat up Cheerleading Costume.  No amount of reminding her it was “PRINCESS” camp would persuade her to don a Princess gown.  The costume with holes missing most of its decorations was the perfect choice.  Paired with pearls.  Moving on.

Sara has new layers in her hair, which were a bargain I made with her while in the beautician’s chair.  I convinced her it would match what she claims to be her “style”.  Sara is quite clear on her own personal branding message these days: teenage.  Or “teenager-y”, to quote Miss Thing, which is why she won’t wear bangs.  Bangs are for little girls.  Horrible, messy long strands permanently glued to her eyes are a teenage thing. I WILL NOT, WILL NOT die on the hair battle hill, so I grabbed the round brush and hairdryer, and went to work. According to Sara, it wasn’t nearly teenage enough.  And for the Momma, that WAS enough.  “You are SIX.  6.  Not 16.  Put your shoes on, we’re going.  We have to take your sister who looks like she walked out of some pediatric horror film from 1955 to Princess POWER camp.  And then she has a date at Chuck E. Cheese.  I mean a PLAY DATE.  She has a PLAY DATE at Chuck E. Cheese.  With a boy.  And she’s wearing jewelry.  Oh Lord help me.”

{This entire “teenager” thing started a few weeks ago while shopping for underwear.  Sara, with great exasperation said, “I can’t wait until I’m a teenager and can wear PLAIN grown up underwear! You know Mommy, PLAIN WHITE OR TAN, just like yours.” My internal “ugh” went on full alert.  It’s official.  I’ve become the woman at 40, who at 30, I swore I’d never be.  My skivvies are so boring, they can be written about on the internet.  My unmentionables are mentionable.  I’d like to shake my finger at that 119 lb girl and tell her no judgements until you’ve gained and lost 75 lbs…TWICE…and then lived with a crooked C-section scar for almost 7 years. Wisdom Comes Suddenly, Beoutch.”}

While Kelly played happily at the Chuck to the Cheese (and high 5 to the Mommy who volunteered to take them), I took Sara on a real first: we went school clothes shopping.  I had no big plans except to spend some time with Sara NOT at the Occupational Therapists, NOT at the Childrens Hospital, and NOT with the Math Tutor.  At lunch, we realized in the last 5 years, our time alone together has pretty much constituted this list.  I might be getting to the bottom of some things here.

But my pseudo-teenager wanted to go to “big girl” stores.  There isn’t a cell in my body that will allow her to grow up before her time, but in the heart of compromise, we looked for a middle ground.  We ventured into Justice.  First, I checked my wrinkles, because I thought for a moment I had taken a time machine to 1985.  Then, I watched Sara’s face light up (or was it just a reflection from the sea of neon?), as she ran from rack to rack, telling me she was sure to look like a FOURTH GRADER if we shopped here.  Well, I mean...a 4th grader…I get the draw.

As she picked up a variety of accessories (and by variety, I mean ALL of them), asking “What’s this?  What is this for?  What does this DO? (Lip gloss, fake nails, a miniature locker to hold your lip glosses and fake nails), I suddenly watched her childhood flash before my eyes.  How did we get here?  Why are we here?  Wasn’t she a pissed off 3 year old like 10 minutes ago?  This isn’t…real.  I scrambled for my phone, quickly dialing my college roomies for advice, and received the message loud and clear, “GET OUT!  GET OUT NOW!  RUN, RUN, RUN!!!”, but it was too late. Sara wanted the purple sweatpants with the silver “Dream Big” logo, paired with the layered tank and Flashdance shirt, covered in the largest purple sequined peace symbol I’ve ever seen. I tried to gather my wits, and draw an imaginary line in the sand between a quantity of respectable sequins, and an amount that would leave my petite 1st grader looking more like a Vegas showgirl than a girl going to gym class. I desperately looked around at the sales signs, looking for some kind of sequin pie chart.  In this quadrant you get to apply to Vanderbilt’s Sorority Rush and major in Accounting.  In this quadrant, you are granted your first pack of cigarettes and a boyfriend with serious issues with his father.  Focus Woman!

Things got fuzzy from there.  First, the outfit actually FIT, which means we hadn’t wandered mistakenly into Oz. Second, the price tags resemble very little of the usual discount bin pricing in the children’s aisle at Kohl’s.  It was….REAL CLOTHES PRICING.  OH GOD.  I tried to dial Greg and scratch out the words, “protect the college fund; this ship is going down”, but instead, I looked down to find the American Express in my hand.  I assumed I must be reaping what I sowed decades ago, but then it hit me…I was looking at this day the wrong way.

Because my once very unusual child upon whom we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars in medical and educational care, wanted nothing more than to show up to school in a purple sweatsuit that screams, “I shop with 4th graders”.  To quote Mike Myers from Wayne’s World, “Sha!” The hardest decision I made yesterday was to shut my mouth.  Not decide if we should drop another 5 Grand on alternative therapies.  Not decide if we should switch urologists.  No meetings with anyone who has a long list of letters after their name. Just shut my mouth and let these wild squirts BE. Suddenly, my mood lightened considerably.  We threw in a new case for her reading glasses covered in neon scratches, deciding it was time to ditch the Disney Princess case.  After all, she is in 1st Grade, Part II.

We got some pretzel sticks.  We walked past the exact same stores I shopped in 25 years ago, and told Sara about Grandma Sally picking out my clothes in high school, making me the best dressed nerd on the planet. We high-fived the most “normal” we’d ever felt. We picked up Kelly who traded in her billions of tickets for glow in the dark vampire teeth, reinforcing my horror film summary from the morning.  We came home and cuddled while watching a Barbie movie.  My sister called after hearing I was spotted at a Mall.  “You tried to go clothes shopping without some sort of shopping eye dog?  Lori, Lori, Lori.  Girls who spent their high school years in Shakespeare Seminars should not walk into Justice.  You could have had a stroke!  Next time go just go to the Gap and give me a call.”  I must admit, I found Shakespeare less confusing than the interminably tangled mess at the “BFF” necklace display.

Knowing Greg had not eaten much, I made a huge dinner, and as we sat down to our first try of Crunchy Kale, Kelly asked, “Ohhh!  Are we having a course?  I’m so hungry.  My last course was a fruit course!” Everyone dug into the kale, Sara announced tomato jam was the most delicious thing she’d ever tried on turkey (apparently forgetting the last 10 times I’ve given it to her when she announced it was the most disgusting thing on earth), and Kelly asked for seconds of the scallion and sage mashed potatoes.  Kelly has never asked for seconds of anything in her life.

There was some reaping on both sides of the fence yesterday, I suppose.  All in, I’d call it a very good day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to figure out how to wash very overpriced sequined knit…“A fool doth think himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” -As You Like It, Act 5, William Shakespeare


Tags: The Girls

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Teresa // Aug 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Another lovely/funny story!…loved it!

    ~Have a lovely day!

  • 2 Hillary // Aug 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    We are so on the same page. I took my K. shopping for school clothes for the first time last weekend (the past two years have been either school uniforms or mental health crises). We also ended up in Justice and her eyes also lit up as she went from rack to rack, proclaiming “I LOVE this store! Everything in here fits my style!” And thank GOD they go into the larger size range, so the clothes actually fit her and looked good. It was “normal” and fun and everything it should be. Love you, friend.

  • 3 The Momma // Aug 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm


    Who would have thought a store straight out of a Cydi Lauper video would give us that “oh so average and normal” feeling?! God Bless the 80’s.

  • 4 Kirsten // Aug 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I knew I was in trouble when the clothes Bea got from Justice came with a ‘sparkle care’ tag. But she really loves that store and since she wears a uniform to school I have indulged her there a few times!

  • 5 Jennie // Aug 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Yes, my 7 year old is anxiously awaiting a back to school trip to Justice as well. The catalog came in the mail, she then selected every.thing that she needed…showed daddy who proclaimed no animal print. At least that will eliminate half of the store. I think we agreed to one outfit and no accessories. Hopefully I can stick to my guns when we get to the mall. 🙂

  • 6 Karin W // Aug 2, 2012 at 7:29 am

    we also love Justice (and Brothers, but Mike isn’t big enough yet – 2 more sizes). My girls love the jeans and that’s BIG since Emi doesn’t like jeans or anything with a fitted waist and they love the attitude and sparkle. I like that while it’s sassy, cute and they’ll wear it, it’s relatively modest clothing – can’t say that about every store we’ve looked at. I also sneak-shop at The Children’s Place – I can shop for all 3 kids there relatively affordably (in the clearance section) and so glad they started putting “CP” in the tags for the bigger kids stuff!

  • 7 Lori // Aug 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Sparkle care tag?! Oh Kirsten, these things weren’t covered in the Physics Club. Remember when you, me, Abdo, and Clint made up our own laws of Physics? I feel we’re in the same boat once again.

  • 8 Karin W // Aug 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I just got a sale coupon via email from Justice… must have realized I was talking about them on the internet! 🙂

  • 9 Sara (Schermerhorn) Cupp // Aug 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Ive been to this hell you call justice. My 7 year old loves it. I miss my children’s place and osh kosh (at outlet no less) prices!!!!

  • 10 The Momma // Aug 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm


    You had me at Osh Kosh Outlet. Tears.