Monday, May 7, 2012
Tweens and Tiaras
For someone who is running a business, writing a blog, trying to stay fit and trying even harder to keep up with a tween, I spend an inordinate amount of time shopping.
I'm not a "shopaholic;" it's not even "retail therapy." Nothing fun like that. It's because no matter how hard I try to plan ahead, there is always "one more thing" that is needed for school or riding or dinner.
"I need a poster board and markers."
"I need new show gloves for Saturday."
"I need more conditioner."
"I need gym shorts."
"I need a pint of Ben & Jerry's S'Mores ice cream."
(If you are not the mother of a tween, please note the use of the word "need" in all of the statements above. If you are the mother of a tween, you need not note it; I'm quite sure you hear it all the time yourself.)
Last Friday, I had to leave my desk for an hour because my daughter needed a tiara. Actually, it was multiple tiaras. And popcorn. And candy. My daughter and her friends had decided to have a movie night at our house. It was to be a double feature of Princess Diaries and Princess Diaries 2. I think it was the result of some convoluted private joke. Typically, they are far more interested in racier fare, like Twilight or The Hunger Games. Regardless, they were looking forward to it.
And, honestly, I was thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that I did something I hardly ever do. I took a lunch break and raced all over in my quest for appropriate headwear and refreshments.
First, an odd lot store in the next town over. One of those "go in with an open mind and you could come out with a treasure" sort of places. In visits past, I have found fantastic bargains on things I hadn't realized I required. Wrapping paper and curling ribbon. Scented candles and soaps. Halloween decorations. Magic baby stretch gloves. But, I had no time to linger; I was a mother on a mission. Within ten minutes, I had swooped in and found a variety of movie theatre candy (you know, the slightly oversized boxes that sell for significantly oversized prices at the theatre). M&Ms, Whoppers, Mike & Ike, Junior Mints, Reese's Pieces, and Hot Tamales. 98 cents a box!
Next, I dashed over to the nearest supermarket. Our usual (lightly salted, in other words, healthy) popcorn wasn't going to cut it for this shindig. My daughter had requested Orville Redenbacher's "Movie Theater Butter." I found an 8-pack box, paid and was back on the road in a flash.
My third and final stop was Target, another retail location that can eat up hours (and dollars). Despite the promise that you can "Expect more, pay less," I usually find myself "Buying more ... than I need." But, again, I was focused. I went straight to the party supply aisle and found tiaras. Three with purple jewels, three with pink. Mission accomplished.
There were only a few other accommodations to be made. My husband picked up a pizza once all of the wannabe princesses arrived. He and I settled in front of the comparatively tiny TV hidden in our living room, leaving its widescreen high-def relative to my daughter and her crew. Eventually, eyes strained from trying to watch the smaller set, I headed upstairs to read. But, I could still hear peals of laughter every few minutes. At a little after ten, my husband (who certainly wins a good sport award for this one) drove all the guests home.
The party was last-minute. It was silly. It was inconvenient. It was anything but nutritious (and whatever junk food they did not ingest ended up ground into our family room carpet). So, why did I agree to it? Why did I leave my work and jeopardize my career and reputation for it? (Not really, of course, but I feel very self-righteous saying so.) Simple. For the first eleven years of my daughter's life, we were all about theme parties. Fairies, American Girl Doll, Mermaids, Brady Bunch. And, yes, Princesses.
To have a little taste of that after all this time (even if it was all based on some big joke that no one bothered to share with me) was worth it. My daughter really and truly (really and truly!) seemed to appreciate everything I had done.
For that evening I was, again, the beloved Queen Mum.