By Kelly Hines
I took my teenage daughter to the mall today, shopping for clothes.
For those of you who do not have, or have not had, a teenage daughter, you might have read that and said, “Oh, how sweet.” For those of you who have, you likely groaned aloud, said a silent prayer for me, and thanked heaven it was me and not you. Shopping with a teenage girl is, for me anyway, right up there with having my eyelashes plucked out one by one on the fun-o-meter.
We laid out some ground rules before we even left the house:
- Try things on.
- Try something new.
- No t-shirts.
My daughter is a thrift store addict. I love thrift stores, and I love thrift store prices, but the last thing the child needs is one more “I HEART ROWING” or “KERN COUNTY 5k” t-shirt. She takes pride in wearing shirts from events she never attended and while it was kitschy at first, it’s gotten kind of weird. “What’s your Boston terrier’s name?” a relative asked recently, noting my daughter’s ‘I love my Boston Terrier’ t-shirt. You guessed it, we don’t have one.
I’ve also noticed that her self esteem has been a little lagging lately. And while I don’t think that clothes make the woman, entirely, I do know that when I’m wearing something that fits particularly well or is my favorite color, I feel better about myself. So we left the house full of hope in a mother daughter bonding event that would make her feel great about herself, too.
Things went to all to hell pretty quickly. I let her drive (Jesus take the wheel), so we got to the mall a little on edge. We began the slow march through the mall, store by store. Everything I liked, she hated. Every store I wanted to go in, she didn’t. Everything was too trendy or too preppy or too old lady (the last one said as she arched an eyebrow and gave my outfit a slow once over). I had almost resigned myself to going home empty handed when I turned and went into a store I’d never even noticed – Maurices.
“What about this?” I said, holding up a cute shirt. “Eh,” she shrugged. I moved across the store away from her, because I really thought I was either going to start yelling or crying, or maybe both.
“Back to school shopping?” asked a sales clerk. “Seventh level of hell,” I replied. “You’re not the first one,” she said sympathetically. I gave her a weak smile and moved back across the store toward my daughter. A few seconds later, a second salesperson appeared, holding a shirt. “This would look so cute on you, want to try it on?” she asked my daughter.
My teenager, for all of her grousing and eye rolling at me, would never, ever be rude to another adult. “Sure, I guess,” she said, and the woman ushered her back to the dressing room. Then another salesperson joined her and they began bringing back outfit after outfit. And then, something magical happened.
My teenager opened the door to the dressing room after trying the first outfit, and looked like this:
Y’all. SHE SMILED. The more she tried things on, the more she smiled. The young women showed her how to style her clothes, and made suggestions, and didn’t push when they could tell she didn’t love something. At one point, she stuck her head out of the dressing room and said “Mom, thank you. These clothes make me feel so good. I feel so confident.”
I wanted to cry again, but for a totally different reason.
As we walked out of the store, my daughter was beaming. She couldn’t wait to get home and show her dad her things. I can’t wait to see her wearing them, feeling confident about herself. I am so thankful that we walked in somewhere new, and had such incredible service. When we got home, she found a postcard in her bag –
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
* I was in no way compensated by Maurices at Hanes Mall, we just had an awesome experience! Thank you to Madison, Jamie, and Dani especially for their kindness.