Yesterday was a busy day. In addition to a full day at school, my daughters had an orchestra rehearsal which ran from 6:30 – 8:30pm an hour away from home. This requires planning of dinner, commute and homework.
Our two teenagers are more interested in snapping and editing selfies than looking out the window or talking to us, their parents. They read their instant messages and scroll Instragram. They laugh and trade one-liners that I don’t understand. I’m not privvy to their virtual world. When I try to understand and ask questions, I am met with sighs and sarcasm. I’ve learned how to adapt: I basically talk to myself every morning or sing to the radio as I drop one off to high school and take the other one to work/school. At 13 and 14, my daughters are physically beautiful specimens – fortunate with the gene pool (1/2 Korean, 1/2 German-Scottish-French). They are blissfully ignorant of their luck in aesthetics and parents. Heck, they totally take it for granted. They take everything for granted.
I’m (nearly) 48. I take care of myself and exercise regularly. But my Morning Mirror Time is a fraction of theirs. I apply light makeup and give my hair a quick brush in a matter of 5 minutes. Literally. I just can’t be bothered. Yet, I consider myself above average in appearance. You can tell I was once very pretty, just by looking at me.
In any case, I’m a teacher and I dress for the job. I have a very comfortable dress, v-neck, that goes just below my knees. Here it is:
I bought it at a boutique shop near my house. The salesperson ooh’d and aah’d when I modeled it for her. I thought maybe I looked a little frumpy. No, she said, you look perfect. I have not had anyone ooh or aah in several years despite my augmentation following breast cancer surgery 6 years ago. Cancer gave me the chest of my dreams: from 34A to 34C.
Well, I wore this dress yesterday. All day. I’ve worn this dress at least 10 times before for various occasions. No one has complimented me, but that’s OK. I don’t need compliments. I’m almost 50 for Pete’s sake. I don’t dress for others, I dress for ME!
My daughters and I were eating dinner before their Phoenix Youth Symphony rehearsal. Food that I ordered by phone. Food that I ordered and picked up and brought to them, lovingly. As I got up to throw trash away, the 14 year old sighed heavily while eyeing my dress.
“What?” I looked to see if there were food stains on it.
Another sigh. Exceptionally heavy. “Mom, I just wish…I just wish you’d wear something….better.”
Suddenly, she gets all Tim Gunn on me. Really? I’ve worked all day with 90+ students. Attended an IEP meeting before school started. Ordered food with my bare hands…and now this? I expect her to follow it with (in gay voice), “It doesn’t even work conceptually.”
“Why do you say this to me AFTER I’ve worn it all day?”
She looks up at her father who has just entered the room. As usual, she completely disregards my question, my feelings.
“What’s going on?” He asks.
All three give me a hard look. Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors, all are staring at me. Judging me. I feel bloated.
“Her dress, it looks like a Powerpoint.”
I drive home. My hands, gripping the wheel, smell like Greek chicken and tzaziki sauce.