A Dayton View: Mom and daughters face rites of adolescence
There were a couple instances in the past weeks where my motherly denial (Cleopatra’s got nothing on me!) that the girls are growing up came to a screeching halt. In moments like these, it becomes clear how quickly time passes; how short a time our children are entrusted to us.
At any rate, I was informed by my 10-year-old that she would not be wearing a certain top until she had a bra, that in case I hadn’t noticed, she needed one. The almost 12-year-old then chimed in, saying she needed “bigger” ones, too.
Incessantly these girls went on and on about it, and I realized why my mom, bless her heart is always asking my sisters and me when we’re together, “Can’t you girls talk about something besides boobs?”
We always just laugh at Mom and ask her what else we’re supposed to discuss. After all, we’re girls, and differences aside, these are two things we have in common.
So there I was in the girlie bra section, as if it’s not bad enough shopping for myself. (Ask any woman, and they will tell you bra and swim-suit shopping is like an annual trip to Hell; but I digress).
“Jeepers,” I thought, faced with the many choices available to girls these days, as I tried to compare the options with reality. “This can’t be what they need.”
Endless options that seem unnecessary and that have made the early womanhood ritual of “augmentation by Kleenex” obsolete. I never went there, but our local rodeo queen who was reviled by most, had an unfortunately deflating experience while barrel racing during the Lassen County Fair one year. While that experience may have put her on the shrink’s couch at some point in life, for the rest of us, it was worth two weeks of gossip, as I recall.
Long story short, I left with what I needed, and if I look close enough, probably a gray hair or two.
The second event involved the return of Henry Kilbreath who was in town for a bowling tournament.
Of course, his folks came also, but sorry, Tim and Cheryl, you’re secondary to the story!
Henry came into our lives when he and my daughter Natalie were in first grade. I got a phone call one evening from Cheryl, who I didn’t yet know, that her son had been picked on mercilessly by the other boys. Natalie had intervened, threatening to kick butt if they didn’t stop. They did.
The deal was done and Henry and Natalie were inseparable until his family moved to Elko a year ago.
Back to Friday: I went to get in the shower and couldn’t. My daughter, who generally takes two hours of nagging and one abrupt order to get her in the shower, had come home from school, barely said hello, put her stuff away and had gone in. She emerged with her hair styled and sporting a dress.
“Holy crap,” I thought, realizing the magnitude of Henry’s visit and her investment in it.
They spent Friday evening and Saturday together, and on the ride home Saturday night, Natalie informed me that since she would be 18 before Henry, she would at that time, be moving to Elko to buy a house and be close to him.
“Henry’s going to a university, and what about you going to a university?” I asked.
“What college is Henry going to?” she asked.
“I don’t know, Nat, but you both need to go,” I said.
“Mom, do people who have known each other since they were little ever get married?” she asked.
“I guess it happens,” I said.
Then with insight beyond her years, she said, “Here’s the thing, Mom. With Henry it’s easy. He knows who I am. He gets me, he understands my feelings and I don’t have to explain myself.”
“Wow Nat, that’s huge coming from a 10-year-old, considering I’m 42 and just now figuring that out,” I said.
Absolute quiet the rest of the ride home. Once again, the child is the teacher. And my eyeliner, unlike Cleopatra’s, is stripped away. Hmmmm.
Happy Mother’s Day!
• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 246-4000.