Sunday, August 05, 2007

Through Different Eyes

I had vowed to do back-to-school shopping. God, how I dreaded it. Shopping with a very mature (physically, emotionally, and mentally) pre-teen who is moving up to junior high this year and simply "MUST be more fashionable" is akin to having your teeth pulled out sans anesthesia. But I knew it must be done, so I laid out several conditions:

1. There would be no complaints about the current changes her body was going through and the difficulties we would have with finding clothes that would fit. Nor would there be complaints about walking so much, or the restrictions I have on what I deem is appropriate to wear in public. Yes, I believe that children should dress like children - modestly. I curse the designer that would create underwear for young girls made out of silver lame' material with a picture of a cat on the crotch with the slogan, "I'll a little pussycat." Yep, I saw that in a store.

2. This shopping trip was for all of us...i.e., there would be many stops.

3. We would go to P.F. Chang's for dinner. I really like the place and since we live in the middle of nowhere, a trip to the city should be rewarded!

So, off we went.

The shopping actually went well. We started with the young lady. Three shirts, in two stores in under 30 minutes. After unsuccessfully trying to find jeans that would still cover her ass when she bends over and growing frustrated in the process, we decided to save the hunt for bottoms for another day.

For the young one (my son), shopping is relatively easy. One store, four shirts (all of them with pictures of either dinosaurs, trucks, or insects on them), three pants, and two shorts in under 20 minutes. Now that's how I like to shop!!

As we wandered down the mall promenade we ducked into several specialty shoppes for accessories, and the coolest two-headed plastic dragon a could kid hope to find. Of course, he then HAD to have a knight on a horse to battle the dragon. I know. I'm easy. But it is really neat!

Finally, it was time for dinner. Thankfully, I had made reservations so our wait was minimal. We were seated and I glanced around. My children were the only kids in the place.

Then it hit me.

For all practical purposes, I'm a single parent.

Around us were older couples who knew what their partner would order, who understood each other's glances, and who could answer for each other if the waitress came while their partner had dashed off to the ladies room. You could see this intimate familiarity in their eyes and expressions.

Then there were the the first-daters. The push-up bras of the ladies, the stolen glances at exposed cleavage by the guys, and the hesitant smiles and awkwardness of the whole situation for both.

And then there were the young married couples dining out with other young married couples who had hired one sitter to watch all of the kids while their parents escaped for a few hours to enjoy good food, wine, and friendship.

But there were couples everywhere.

My children, of course, were oblivious to this. We had a great dinner, and seeing their faces light up when the waitress brought "The Chocolate Wall of China" for dessert was fabulous. They were perfectly comfortable in the restaurant setting because, well... I've taught them to be.

But suddenly I wasn't.

I wanted to be part of a couple. I wanted to be one of those who understood the other's glances, and raised eyebrows. I wanted to sit across from someone who knew to order dessert despite my protestations. Because, yes, I really wanted us to share it.

After twenty years it should already be that way.


Plantation said...

I know how you feel. Yet I bet there were people, couples looking over at you and your kids and thinking how great they behave and how they wish to have kids as great as yours.

southernfemme said...

Thanks, Plantation. And, yes, there were couples that took notice of the kids. Our waitress and a couple by whom we were seated both commented on how well behaved they were. I'z a proud mama.

Sans Pantaloons said...

I like cake!

/\ said...

long time no see! too long, i am sorry.

you are observant. i will have to be on my toes because i have been told my eyes wander south. but at least my thoughts are unobservable, because ohmyohmyohmy...

Sans Pantaloons said...

Merry Christmas SF!

Gnightgirl said...

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I have looked for that for years.
I am in a new relationship and even though we have not been together for 20 years, I have finally found it.
Despite having been in other relationships I am finally part of a couple. Someone who gets me. And someone who I get. I can only hope that we all at some point in our lives know how wonderful it feels to be truly cared for and loved.