This time of year is bittersweet for me. Watching frazzled mothers taking their children school shopping brings back memories of shopping for my own children.
The excitement of buying new clothes and attempting to negotiate with the children to get items that are within budget but still pass the peer inspection can cause major meltdowns for parents and children alike.
I remember the scenes with my two children—especially my daughter. When she reached her teen years, shopping became a nightmare for both of us. “But Mom, you just don’t understand. Nobody wears this style or brand anymore!” These words echo through my mind when I see moms and kids going through what must be the universal conflict parents and children everywhere have this time of year.
The other day at a local department store I observed a very interesting exchange between a pre-teen girl and her mother. The girl was trying to convince her mother to buy a very expensive pair of shoes. The mother was clearly torn between staying within the budget and pleasing her daughter. Just when I thought she was about to cave in to her daughter’s pleadings, the daughter’s attention was diverted to a more sensible and less expensive pair. A smile crossed both their faces and peace was restored again. As they paid for their purchase and walked out of the store arm in arm, I smiled and thought of the many times I had gone through the same situation with my own daughter.
My mind was suddenly jolted back to the present when I heard a familiar voice, “Nanny, why can’t I have these shoes?” I turned my attention back to my own 12 year old granddaughter and the only shoes in the entire store that would make her totally happy with life and me.
You see, although my own children are now grown, I have 4 grandchildren to take care of and 3 are at the pre-teen and teen years. Although years have passed since my children were in school, school shopping is still a yearly ritual for me. This ritual has changed very little over the years.
No matter how many tempers flare and disagreements arise, all is forgiven on that all important first day of school when the the most beautiful and intelligent children in the world step on the bus to embark on a fresh new adventure.