My Seat at the Table

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My Seat at the Table

Yesterday I took 7 girls to the mall. My daughter recently turned 13 and that was her birthday wish. She actually wanted to bring one more girl but we ran out of seats. I try to keep my mouth shut whenever I drive a carload of kids. You can get some good intel if you’re quiet. My problem is I want to sing along to the songs on the radio. Car karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes and I’m quite passionate about it. I lose all restraint if something by Queen, Journey or Pat Benatar graces the waves. I get a lot of side eye from my daughter who rides shotgun on these excursions.

The mall is a solid 40 minute drive away so I got to hear a few things. At one point they were discussing whether they want to have boys or girls later in life. There were mixed views, most stated that girls would bring a lot more drama than boys. I felt a little sad over that and realized this is a message they are receiving from all of us. I also recognized that indeed there is more drama in my daughter’s life then my son’s. He also is less apt to discuss his social issues with me (perhaps a classic closed off male?). So there were two stereotypes tapping me on the shoulder. Try harder mom.

Last year when I did a similar trip to the mall, I trailed behind letting the girls lead the way. This time I was asked to sit in the food court. I agreed to that as long as there were consistent texts and they met me at an agreed upon time. They had an hour and a half off the leash. I got texts from my daughter letting me know which stores they were in. Then something awkward happened.

While I was doing time in the food court, I was texting a good friend telling her my daughter wanted to get a second piercing in her ears and how I told her to ask her dad if it was OK. I also mentioned that I had never been more certain of a “no”. That text was meant for a friend but I accidentally sent it to my daughter. I got a hmmmm….response on that and I’m sure that will boomerang it’s way back to me. She forgets things all the time (gym uniform, socks, hats) this is something she will remember. I didn’t say anything bad just gave away that I talk to friends about this stuff and she gathered some intel of her own for how I attend to some parental issues. Quid pro quo.

Eventually we made our way to dinner at a chain restaurant. They seated us at a table that would have been considered Al fresco if we weren’t still indoors. The table was outside of the main seating area and in a corridor with a low metal fence creating a boundary between diners and shoppers. The girls looked at the kids menu and the regular menu and they all settled on some variation of pizza from the kids side. I didn’t ask them to order from there they just did it on their own. This is a considerate group.

At one point they asked for crayons to use on the kids menus and that was a pleasant surprise. A bunch of 12 and 13 year old girls comfortable enough with their friends to still be kids. I know that will change in the months to come so I soaked it in. At one point they realized our table could be seen from the security monitor that is displayed near the mall entrance so frantic waving ensued.

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They also spent time making pretend promos for shows that exist only in their imaginations. They tried duplicating the Disney promos where the promoter draws a heart. Then a sad discussion about the end of the K.C. Undercover show. Everyone at the table is a huge Zendaya fan. I was happy to have some understanding of the topic. I suspect at some point in the near future I won’t have any idea what they’re talking about or I simply won’t be at the table. For now, I’m keeping my seat.

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12 responses »

  1. Good post. I was sure my son would
    Tell me all later in life as I kept an open and frank dialog with him. Guess what, that stereotype is there for a reason. Also. Teenage side eye can be pretty judgy! Again. Good one

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a turbulent time in a kid’s/mom’s life. My daughter is nearly 9, but I see the future looming and already get the “side eye”. Glad you still have your seat at the table, hoping to keep my own.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve taken me right back to my chauffeuring days … the side eyes, the abrupt changing of the radio stations, the conversations … Only once did one of the passengers ask me a question and it was a doozy. “Mrs. McKenzie, what do you think of the situation in Afghanistan?” What? My mother-in-law was suddenly in the car? Afghanistan? Was this kid truly only 11? Crikey!
    Love how you’re paying attention and I shall offer up a silent prayer that you get to stay at the table for a long time to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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