As my 13-year-old daughter was leaving for school today, with her curls looking perfect, I suggested that I put a little finishing oil in her hair to prevent frizz. She looked at me with that glare that only a 13 year old has and she said, “I don’t need anything in my hair.”
It made me think about the relationship I had with my mother when I was growing up. She was and still is a hippie. Her fashion style, if you can call it that, is purely functional – one of my father’s shirts, jeans and running shoes, with her backpack serving as a purse. She would rather her money go to friends, family and the many causes she supports. It’s truly admirable. But growing up, it was a little rough.
I went to a high school like most others, where having the right jeans, shoes and hairstyle mattered. At least in my mind. Maybe I was already wired this way, or maybe it was a response to my mother’s anti-fashion attitude, but I LOVED clothes. I remember asking for a new pair of jeans in middle school and she said “But you already have a pair.” That made perfect sense to her, but not to me. I remember being at a friend’s house, and her mother asking if she wanted to go shopping for clothes – words I don’t think I ever heard come out of my mother’s mouth. My friend declined, which seemed even more amazing to me.
I don’t know whether she was finally beaten down by my sister and me and our endless demands for clothes and makeup, but she relented in high school. She took us shopping to the stores we loved – Casual Corners, Foxmore Casuals, the Limited. But there were times when she was nearly in tears at the guilt she felt for spending money on clothes when there were people truly in need all around us.
When I was old enough to make my own money, I went a little crazy. Now that I could buy the things I liked, I did – to the excess. This carried through to my daughter, who had more outfits – with matching hats, socks, sweaters, etc. – than any toddler should ever have.
So as she has grown up, her attitude about shopping and fashion is more similar to my mother’s than to me. Her outfit of choice is jeans, a t-shirt, an old sweatshirt of mine and her Converse high tops. She has little interest in makeup, and while she occasionally asks me to straighten her hair, more often than not she just puts it into a no-nonsense bun. She let her pierced ears grow back in.
The pendulum swings back.