Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fashion queen mother

The other day, my 11-year-old told me I needed new tennis shoes. I looked at my feet, at my somewhat worn pair of Keds. I was kind of proud of these Keds. Escewing the traditional style I wore in college, I chose a pair of retro looking ones, with a wide toe and big eyelets. I thought that for once I could be cool mom, a mom who could keep up with the Talbotts models who double as elementary school mothers in this town.

Then my 11-year-old went on. "No offense Mom, but those look like old lady shoes."

It wasn't always this way. I used to be a shopaholic, spending my single girl's money on that latest styles. I spent so much time in the mall that the manager of one of those junior clothing stores became a friend, and she often had outfits picked out for me before I showed up. No, I wasn't a "Sex In the City" kind of shopper, primarily because a small town journalist's salary precludes that sort of shopping. But I did like to keep up with the styles.

Then kids happened. We went to one income. The mall wasn't nearly as inviting, considering I was pushing a stroller and living on a Target budget. Fashion mattered less than comfort, and the budget dictated that I buy things I'd wear a lot. Jeans and T-shirts became my uniform, although I did finally throw away my mom jeans and went with a lower rise.

(Note to the kids out there: Say what you want about Mom jeans, but we never suffered from muffin tops.)

You'd think I could save myself with shoes, but I've been cursed with funky feet. Nothing fits right. Nothing. Back when it mattered, I'd shove my feet into an uncomfortable but stylish pair of shoes, ignoring the fact that they hurt like heck on the dance floor. Nowadays, give me a pair of runners or flip flops. Anything else is a pain in the foot.

I haven't given up on fashion entirely. As the 11-year-old hits the age where fashion matters, I find that she's inherited some of her mom's love for the shop. The fact that she's a size 00 and looks adorable in just about anything has made shopping fun again, albeit expensive. She sometimes asks me why I don't want to buy myself something from Hollister. She doesn't understand when I shake my head.

As for the shoes, I might let my 11-year-old have some input on what I choose. I'm sure she'll roll her eyes when I veto anything that feels weird, uncomfortable or on the verge of falling off when I walk. But that's the beauty of being a slave to fashion. Eventually, you grow out of it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Who's blessing?

Our church is once again hosting homeless families this week. I admit, I was feeling less than charitable about the upcoming week. Emily and I had been out-of-town for a soccer tournament. I was tired, sunburnt and annoyed because the hotel messed up my reservation and I had to sleep on a rollaway cot. Besides, the program itself has had its ups and downs. It was recently revamped with a new director and guidelines, but it's still hard to know if we're going to make a difference.

But, sanctimonious Lori told herself that my place isn't to worry about whether I'm going to make a difference. My place is to help out where I'm needed and hope that maybe someone I can help someone along the way. I dragged my grumpy self to church and met our guests.

As I was preparing dinner, one of the girls came up to me and asked if she could sing a song before we ate. I said sure, and called the crew to dinner. The girl, who was about 10 or 11, sang her heart out to the gathered group. She sang about God and blessings.

Here's a child who has to sleep in a rollaway cot every night, and whose belongings are being toted around in a trash bag. Yet she sings of being blessed.

Who's blessing whom?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Soccer mom speaks

The youngest had a soccer tournament this weekend. Now, as any sports parent can tell you, sometimes a team is "on" and sometimes they're "off." When both teams are on, the game is fun to watch. But if one team is off and the other is on, the watching can be heart-wrenching.

Our team happened to be on this weekend. The opposing team was off. The opposing team's parents were frustrated as the score went up. Meredith's dad was especially vocal. We were well acquainted with Meredith by the second half, because her dad screamed his directions while she attempted to follow them. Dad's directions weren't enough, though, because the goals kept coming.

"Come on, girls," one of the mothers said. "Don't embarrass yourselves."

Too late. It appears Mom and Meredith's dad have already done the job for them.

These are 11- and 12-year-olds. Most will never land scholarships or play in college. Many won't be playing in two or three years. When they look back, will they remember the good times, or will they remember the times they embarrassed themselves?

Or will they remember the times their parents embarrassed them?