“My friend uses a credit card to do cat eyes with her eyeliner,” she tells me as she’s getting ready for seventh grade picture day.
Huh, I think. I’ve wondered about the elusive cat eye strategy for like a decade—how do they get it so straight?!?—and now my daughter is just casually explaining it to me like everyone knows this. This teen girl thing may be pretty useful. I wonder what else she knows. Make a mental note to bring up contour kits and why people are using something called a “highlighter” but not the kind for studying lines at theatre camp. She might know more.
My life has become one big “Who Wore It Better?” post. My daughter borrows my clothes, and daggone it, she looks incredible in them. All of a sudden I feel like Middle-Aged Barbie and I’m not even mad.
The first time this happened was when I gave her one of my t-shirts. This shirt had never quite fit me, on account of my lopsided feedbags ravaged by her brother during Our Year of Perpetual Nursing. The t-shirt didn’t stand a chance, between the too-small crewneck and the way the design on the front caused an optical illusion that my boobs stretched precisely to my natural waist. It was an illusion, my boobs are fine, MY BOOBS ARE FINE DAMMIT STOP ASKING.
I nonchalantly passed it to my daughter, she threw it on like a freaking movie star, and when I looked at her I realized that’s what it’s supposed to look like. It wasn’t the t-shirt’s fault that it sucked. It was my son’s for sucking so hard for a whole year. My mom boobs were to blame.
Wait, I was trying to write an essay about how lovely it is having a teenager but ended up talking about my ladybags again. This happens a lot.
Oh, did I mention I have a teenager? I have a teenager. I’m still trying out the words. This phase is brand new, although the snarky attitude and emotional dysregulation have been coming on for years. She is my child, after all, and I’m passing on all my best traits.
Teenagerland comes with new privileges and new responsibilities, and since she’s my oldest, she gets to blaze the trail for everyone else while my husband and I pretend like we’ve mapped it all out and nothing surprises us. Nobody panic, we are totally in control of the situation and in no way making it all up as we go along like a life-sized Choose Your Own Adventure novel.
We live a couple blocks from a little shopping area with a fast food restaurant, grocery store, and nail salon. You know, the suburban triumvirate. A couple weeks ago, she came home from church with a gift card for the restaurant. Every Sunday, she volunteers in the toddler room, playing with two-year-olds so their moms and dads can have an hour off to sit in an air-conditioned sanctuary. The little ones don’t need to know that their parents are finding sanctuary from them. And my little one is now old enough to volunteer, and her service snagged her a gift card of gratitude.
She showed it to me proudly, sliding it into her stylish cross body bag, and I thought for a second and said, “You can go use it if you want.” Her mouth turned up a bit on the sides but she made sure she wasn’t experiencing Teen Delusional Hearing. “I can? Now?” “Sure,” I answered. “Why don’t you go see if your friend can walk over with you?”
And that was it. My teen daughter walked to a restaurant and ate food and I stayed home and hoped she remembered all the lessons about street crossing and stranger avoidance.
She did. She’s great. Nobody panic. She even brought me fries. As I told the kids when they were younger, “Good sharing your toys. Mommy’s so proud.” Except now the toys are waffle fries, and instead of driving a Matchbox car around a racetrack, I’m driving a waffle fry into my mouth.
We don’t just share fries, makeup tips, and clothes, either. We share acne cream, because what’s the most surprising thing about being middle-aged? It’s zits big enough to pilot their own spaceship that’s what. I keep telling my face it’s either fine lines or zits but you can’t have both, but Stupidface doesn’t listen.
Maybe acne is the link between teens and adults. The great leveler. Boobs may rise and boobs may fall, but the pimples keep popping, regardless of age. And I’m talking about my bosoms again.
In conclusion, I like teen. Teen my favorite. Boobs.
(Dear editors of Coffee+Crumbs, I’m sorry for redirecting all browser searches for “teen boobs” to our lovely blog about motherhood, but maybe anybody searching for that needs a bunch of mamas to talk to them anyway.)