Do you remember those awkward teenage years when you were so concerned about having everything look just right on the outside? How being seen in public with your parents was pure torture? When everything about your parents, from the things they decided to say to the clothes they decided to wear, completely clashed with your cooler than cool image? I mean, seriously, how can a teenager maintain a trendy persona when they have to be seen in public with the very people that provide them food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and have ultimately given them everything needed for survival since before they were even born?
Since my kids are years away from such ungrateful behavior and because I am sure I never ever treated my parents with such selfish disrespect during my teenage years, you may be wondering why I bring this whole issue up.
Well, it is because I am beginning to build up my case. You know, so that when Allie is 15 and looks at me in disgust before we leave to attend a school function together as a family and snidely says under her breath, "Seriously, if you wear that I'm going to act like I'm not related to you," I will have a whole arsenal of truly embarrassing stories to share with her in the car on the way to the event that will make my clothing choice look like designer runway fashion in comparison.
For instance, I might decide to recount today's events at the tuxedo rental shop/men's clothing store. We had to make a quick stop there to get Ben measured for a tux for my sister's wedding. We also needed to purchase Zach his very own tuxedo because apparently they don't rent tuxedos to perpetually drooling, snot-streaming, booger-schmearing toddlers.
Anyway, I was instantly overjoyed upon walking into the store when Allie located a kids' play corner, complete with toys, coloring books, and a little table with a couple chairs. The kids and I set up camp in the corner, eating Teddy Grahams and playing with toys that looked as if they needed some serious cleaning, complete with bleach, while Ben headed to the back to get his measurements taken. I'm pretty positive there aren't many moms that work at this particular men's clothing store. In fact, as I scanned the store, I only saw men...all in suits...thus fully explaining the disgusting nature of the toys. Maybe I'm being judgemental, but I really don't see suit-wearing men bending over a sink full of bleach water and sanitizing toys. But, to their credit, they did have toys. So, I shouldn't complain. Or, maybe I should've just asked when one of their wives was coming in for a visit....
Back to the topic at hand...
Allie, always the observant one, also noticed the lack of female presence in the store. She was very concerned that there were no girl clothes and was curious as to why there weren't any women shopping there. I went on to explain to her that this was a store for Daddy and other grown-up men. This seemed to appease her for a while and so I went back to handing out Teddy Grahams to Zach.
Then, piercing through the silence that can only be heard by men shopping in a men's store,
"MOM! IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL! LOOK! MOM! I SAID, IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL?!"
I looked over to where Allie was pointing to see a slightly overweight woman in her mid 50's with no make-up on, huge rimless glasses, and extremely short brown hair holding a few extremely large men's shirts she had rifled off of the clearance rack. When I realized she was staring right in our direction I quickly looked away and whispered as softly as possible to Allie: "That is a woman."
"WHADDYA SAY MOM?! IS THAT A BOY OR A GIRL?! COME ON MOM! BOY OR GIRL!"
By this time the woman was directly in front of us. Literally two feet away. I did the only thing I could think to do which was to offer an apology. But, really, how do you apologize for the fact that your 3-year old can't determine gender? She responded a bit coldly, "Well, I've been wondering for a while now if I should grow out my hair and I guess I have my answer." She put the shirts down and walked out.
After she abruptly left the store, a rather tall, young, and tan looking salesman, who probably just spent his spring break in Cancun, and was of course wearing a fashionably dark pin striped suit complete with a brightly colored tie, shouts to us from across the room through peals of his own laughter, "THAT WAS AWESOME!"
Allie looks up toward the man's direction, "Hey mom! That man looks just like BARACK OBAMA!"
"No, Allie, he doesn't."
"Well, yes he does. He kind of does. He's dark just like Barack Obama."
"Allie, he's tan. He is not like Barack Obama."
"Well, just a little bit."
"I think he is...juuuust a little bit...like Barack Obama."
I told you. I'm building my case. And so far, I think I'm getting some pretty good ammo. So, bring on those teen years. I'll be so ready.