Now that my daughters are teenagers they do their own laundry. Not just because they need to eventually learn to do it themselves but because I'm fragile and seeing their dainty, uh um, under clothing may throw me into a deep dark depression. Isn't there an age limit as to when you're allowed start shopping at Victoria Secret? But, I digress-- I was emptying Zoe's dry clothes into her basket so I could load my laundry into the dryer when I recognized a few pairs of her pants as being hand me downs. Hand me downs - from her mother, not her older sister (there ARE plenty of the latter too). I was kind of flattered. She liked my hand me downs enough to wear them. That got me whether if I would have worn my mom's clothes in high school? Would they have even fit me? And what about a mother daughter relationship would allow for such a phenomenal thing to occur?
When my neighbor Kimmie and I were in 4th grade we were found in my mom’s closet more than once playing dress up. (I still have pictures to prove it!) We both dreamed of being influential teachers in the lives of others. The teachers at St. Theresa impacted us mostly for better and our drive and desire to be like them was evident. Do grade school teachers have the most impact on their students or does the influence continue on through middle school and high school? How does one interact with those around them to where they influence them for the good? Becoming a role model and a support system in life?
All these questions got me thinking: when did I stop dressing up in my mother's clothing and desiring to be like the adults in my life around me? Why did I stop looking to them for their input and influence in my life? Is there something that happens hormonally in teens, as some studies suggest, or does our world view as children change because life isn't what we've always been taught it's cracked up to be? Endings aren't always happy. The princess doesn't always get the prince. Kissing a frog definitely doesn't get you anything in life except slimy lips! Children are the ultimate optimists and then life happens. No wonder teenagers are cranky and disillusioned.
Neither Kim or I are teachers in the professional sense but we are both definitely influential teachers to those in our lives around us; namely our children. May we both gently teach our children the harsh reality that life does not revolve around them. Promises will sometimes be broken. Life is not always fair. Ultimately, I hope and pray they feel unconditional love from a couple of mothers who used to love diving into our mothers closets and pretending to be grown up while we were still optimists in a life where our parents were still able to keep us protected from the harsh realities of life.