I spent the better part of last week with our granddaughters. They are eight, almost nine-year-old fraternal twins, different as day and night. One is focused and reserved. Talking with her is like talking to an adult. The other is a whirling dervish of energy with the attention span of a flea.
As is tradition, we take them shopping for one school outfit and one toy.
This is a good place to put this disclaimer. I went to a parochial school for the first eight years and wore a navy blue jumper with a white blouse every day. Every. Single. Day. Coats were charcoal gray Melton wool that weighed almost as much as I did complete with a school bag that weighed more. My shoes were penny loafers. That’s penny loafers every single year. I blame my droopy shoulders on my schooling. Backpacks (and the internet) were still far off in the future along with microwaves, drive-through windows and (sigh!) Starbucks.
I didn’t expect to buy any solid jumpers or white blouses. The girls are fashion and color conscious. Very color conscious! The more color the better! However…I wasn’t expecting the results.
The first store we went to carried only young girls’ clothing. My eyes hurt from the colors and patterns but in a good way. We weren’t there too long and only one found something she wanted — really wanted. I would call it a knee-length prom gown.
Nonjudgmentally (or as nonjudgmentally as is possible when an eight year old picks out a purple prom gown for school) I asked her mother where she would wear it. “Everywhere” was the answer.
It has a purple satin top with broad straps and a chiffon skirt. Holy cow. The nuns would have excommunicated me! Anyhow, I am a good Grammy so that’s what she got. She can pair it with a bolero jacket or put a white tee-shirt underneath. She’s wearing it for her third grade pictures so I am anxious to see the results.
After recovering from this shock, the other granddaughter asked if she could get new shoes instead of an outfit. Sure! Whatever she needs. We went to another store where she picked out…wait for it…prom shoes. They have a small chunky heel and are made of fabric with a satin bow and rhinestones. They are for school.
Let me be clear here. These two girls are not beauty pageant kids. They don’t dress or act in any way other than normal eight-year-old girls — no makeup or anything like that. Their interests are gymnastics and soccer.
Thinking back, I loved to dress up in my Mom’s clothes with her high-heeled shoes. If I could have worn them to school (and walked without breaking my neck), I would have, even with the threat of excommunication hanging over my head.
When I sent them off to the amusement park with the beloved husband I picked up two tops that would be nun-approved. They are colorful but have longer sleeves and are warmer.
I need a do-over. I was definitely robbed. Not only did I get droopy shoulders from all that heavy stuff I had to carry but I was denied the gorgeous colors and fabrics that are available today. I would have loved a purple fleece jacket that weighs next to nothing. As for shoes…..a little sparkly would have worked for me too!