Thursday, June 16, 2011

Love and What She Wore

She's off on a college tour with her scholar group this week, and unlike when she has visited colleges with her parents (as in the photo here), she is required to wear dress pants or a not-too-short skirt or dress. Absolutely no jeans, the scholars were told. This presented more of a problem than you would think. She had dressy jeans and fancy dresses, but nothing that falls into the category of not-too-short business casual. And that meant last minute shopping on Sunday, to try and secure appropriate dresses and a demure top that she could pair with her one not-too-short skirt.

Not too short, by the way, meant nothing shorter than the tips of her fingers when her arms were held straight down at her sides. "But I have long arms!" she complained. Her preferred place to seek the garments was Urban Outfitters. On the way there, we passed a Lohmann's store that looked to me as if it would have perfectly fine dresses, but she grabbed my arms and said, "Please, please don't make me go in there, Mom," and I decided to laugh and indulge her. I can imagine if you're 17 and required to pull off business casual, you at least want to skirt the edge of hipster chic. We did in fact find three garments that fit the bill, a sleeveless navy blue number with eyelet stitching at the neck and hem ("I'll add a belt and this can be my interview dress," she announced), a sweet white top that looked great against her skin and will go nicely with any skirt, and a cream colored dress with a floaty skirt and lines of little gold studs on the bodice. The straps of the last dress are skinny and bare, so my girl will wear a light cardigan over it.

Tuesday night while she was packing we had a session of trying on outfits. She paired the cream dress with her purple sweater, the sleeves pushed three-quarter way up, and she added a thin, woven leather belt at the waist, a touch of urban that contrasted nicely with the silky swish of the skirt. She looked adorable to her mother, as if she wasn't trying too hard but hit the mark anyway. Next she tried on the white top with the blue and black aztec patterned skirt, and we agreed that she needed to wear her bike shorts under them, and under the cream dress too, just in case. Of course, to my eye, she was perfect.

She wore the cream dress when she left on Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. Her dad drove her to lower Manhattan to meet up with her group and chaperones and their bus. I didn't go with them. It was way too early for me. She wore brown leather gladiator sandals and had her slouchy battered leather bag over her shoulder, stuffed with notebooks and pens and iPod and the breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and applesauce that I packed for her. She looked ready.

But for a brief moment, she was still my little girl. When I handed her the packed breakfast she melted. She said, "Aw, Mom, it's just like when you used to pack my lunch every day for science camp." And she hugged me. I felt a little misty and sentimental myself. And now she is out there touring campuses for the next three days, texting me here and there with cryptic messages that we will debrief about later, I suppose. I hope. On day one, "Wesleyan was good, but different than I expected. Yale was nice but I don't want to like it." Today they will visit Williams and Amherst. Tomorrow, Cornell and Colgate. She is so very on her way.


  1. So excited for her!!! OMG! I know she is dedicated to culinary so perhaps Cornell, but I'm glad she is exploring all the options. If all else fails, she can go into fashion consulting, she always puts together the cutest outfits!

  2. so exciting!....wesleyan is beautiful, yale is yale--snoresville, except i think alice waters is still involved with their food service and i know a really smart, creative guy who went to their Arch program; cornell is an extremely cool school, the least snotty and most academically adventurous of the Ivies; Amherst = 5-college program, so not to be sneezed at...
    oh god: how fabulous to be her, in her gladiator sandals, right?
    [ please forgive my smart-ass, top-of-head college reviews :) ]

  3. I so admire the relationship you have with your daughter. So much humor and tolerance and love -- she's so beautiful and so are you.

  4. Yep, you raised a Winner, for sure!
    Your Friend, m.

  5. I can barely breathe reading this, the memories are oh so fresh. I am so very excited for your daughter, she is amazing and no doubt will make any school proud to have her!

  6. Okay, so number one: I am officially old because I think Loehmann's is the best place ever. Ha ha ha!

    Number two: Angella! You seriously have the most beautiful family ever. For real. I agree with Elizabeth--I love the relationships you share with them. One of my favorite posts was when you and your son were fussing before he got on the bus to come home from college. See, that's what I mean by beautiful. You are all outwardly beautiful, yes, but inside--that's what I mean by that. So beautiful. The love leaps off the page. This is why I love this blog so much!

  7. I agree with the previous commenters about how gracefully you perceive, watch over and nurture your family, both the older and younger generations. It's lovely to behold.

  8. Wow. How gorgeous. I love the decriptions of the clothes, and how you two worked it all out togeyther, she would be a class act anywhere in the world, - you mentioned a feeling of timelessness about the hammam, that's what I get reading this, about your daughter caught in her youthful perfection, that sense of timelessness, that she will always be just as she is today, beautiful, on the brink and full of hope.

  9. koshercritter, cornell would be amazing for her, i do agree. but fashion consulting as a career for her is pretty funny! remember this was the child who didn't care one whit for whether her clothes matched when she as younger. all she cared about was its softness against her skin. she didn't figure out that things MIGHT need to match until the peer pressure of high school! MCS was a little cocoon before that. so maybe not fashion, LOL.

    susan, thank you for the insights! This is the kind of stuff the books won't tell you! Hugs, dear friend.

    Elizabeth, i am finding that the relationship with each child is unique, and since I am the same person, it must have something to do with who they are. my daughter is definitely a child with a gentle absurdist sense of humor and it is such a gift to us all.

    Mark, she is a Winner, in spite of me!

    (Not) Rotton Mom, i know. I am trying to breathe, too. This time next year, it will all be settled. I hope it works out as well as it did for your beautigul daughter. Send good thoughts!

    Grady doc, thank you so much for appreciating that post. It was one of those posts where you feel so exposed after putting it up, and few people ever commented, which can make an insecure blogger feel, well, insecure. But it was real. It touches on what I wrote to Elizabeth just above here. My son and I have a prickly relationship sometimes, but yes, there is such love. Thank you for this comment. it means so much.

    A, thank you for that.

    Dierdre, yes indeed. Love.

  10. Your girl... You must be so proud. She's so poised and yet a child but whatever she's to become I have nothing but faith, eventhough I don't know her. Good job lady!

  11. I can feel the beating wings in both your hearts from here. Oh my. What beauty. What love.

  12. My heart did flip-flops as I read through this post! What an exciting time for you and your precious girl. Can't wait to hear what she thought about the different campuses!

    My husband and I graduated from Syracuse University but he almost went to Amherst. Thank God he felt that the campus was too small for him! A very good friend of our went to Williams and we used to visit him up there. Lovely campus, but at the time, the students were extremely snobbish. Maybe things have changed over the years?

    Enjoy these moments.