Dear Parents of Sixteen-Year-Old daughters there’s something you should know.
I met your girls in the ladies room at Target this weekend.
It was SO LOUD when I burst through the door mid-teen conversation.
But don’t worry, they immediately made eye contact, said SORRY, and lowered their excited voices for a polite nanosecond.
I didn’t mind the noise at all. It was happy-noise, not mean-noise.
I have to tell you, though, that my first conscious thought – after I actually got through the door and sound waves – was IS SHE WEARING PAJAMAS?
Because I’m pretty sure your first girl was in fact wearing flannel pajamas, complete with furry Ugg slippers.
I have a 16-year-old daughter, too.
See, I know things because I have one of these creatures at home who, no doubt about it, would wear flannel pajamas to school if I wasn’t there when she departed each morning.
However, your first daughter’s wardrobe selection bothered me not in the least.
I mean your girl is eight feet tall with perfect hair and make-up, and let’s be honest, I think we all want to look this good in flannel.
So in the event you had opinions about her gallivanting around in her PJs at Target, this Mom thinks it’s 100% fine, but please know that I’ve changed my clothes in a Waffle House bathroom before, so there’s that.
At the same time, your other daughter spun around from her position in front of the mirror, faced me, and declared back at jet-engine volume, “ILOVEYOURHAIR!”
There were only the three of us in the ladies’ restroom, your girls and me, so I was super confused and asked if she was speaking to me.
“YESILOVEIT”, your perfect, raven-haired beauty exclaimed, and I instantly recognized her head-to-toe Lululemon uniform – the leisure brand of choice behind pajamas for teen girls everywhere, and not-for-nothing the brand into which no other demographic can squeeze any limb attached to their bodies.
Please understand that I was gobsmacked and hooked and insanely flattered all at the same time by your enthusiastic daughters, me and my middle-aged self, sporting a generic lumberjack flannel and shadow-root hair on a random Target run for paper towels (planned) and, as it turned out, 800 new Christmas lights (unplanned).
I smiled and engaged them, and I guessed they were fifteen, like mine at home.
This is when I learned that I had undershot by a critical year, and I apologize for that. Your girls are sixteen and are perfectly delightful and gracious.
My new young friends said BYEEE and carried on their merry way, only for us to find ourselves in the same inside-the-Target Starbucks line shortly thereafter.
And the fun and awesomeness continued…
“LOOKIT’SOURNEWFRIEND”, Lululemon chirped, while Pajamas ordered a gluten-free concoction that required multiple baristas and a science kit to produce, which took whole minutes.
A whole lot of minutes.
“SORRY”, Pajamas piped up, as liquids steamed and machines whirred and the periodic table was consulted.
And then Pajamas purchased a GLITTER COFFEE CUP.
There was great debate over a bag, but eventually, one brave and super coordinated barista poured the gluten-free science project into the glitter cup so there was no bag and it still wasn’t my turn, but now all I really want in life is a glitter cup and this kind of confidence.
During this extended episode, while I waited on your girls, I noticed Lululemon’s tags were sticking out of her uniform, so in my best Cool Mom voice, I asked if she wanted me to tuck in her tags because Girl Code spans all age groups.
“OHMYGOSHYES” and then a big hair toss so I could tuck them all back in.
So don’t worry parents, I took care of Lululemon’s tags, and also all the baristas survived the whole gluten-free, glitter-cup, hair-tossing, and tag-tucking experience, too.
Dear Parents of Sixteen Year Old Daughters, thanks for reading all the way to this point, because here’s what I want you to know.
When your girls bounced to their next thing (another BYEEE), the baristas – all female and younger than me but older than the girls – stopped and remarked on your daughters.
They did not disparage the volume or the glitter or the maintenance order or all the hair or even the pajamas.
They spoke about your daughters’ manners and their confidence.
Oh to have THAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE at THAT VERY IMPORTANT AGE, the baristas commented.
Dear Parents of Sixteen Year Old Daughters, I bet the flannel pajamas are a thing at your house sometimes, and I know those Lulus leave NOTHING to the imagination, and also that they cost the equivalent to a trip to the grocery store for a family of four.
I bet the volume is an issue at home sometimes, and I know gluten-free and sparkle cups represent their own kind of drama in a household that also has to focus on things like calculus and new drivers.
I bet stranger-danger awareness has given you actual heart palpitations from the time these two formed words because they are the best kind of FEARLESS.
But I’m here to tell you, in a world full of voices that tell us kids have devolved into cyborgs who are extensions of their phones, your girls are out there in the real world brightening up the lives of strangers simply by being themselves.
Good for you, parents, for giving your daughters the confidence to look adults in the eyes.
Good for you, parents, for teaching your daughters how important it is to be aware of and respectful to others.
Good for you, parents, for inspiring your young women to speak up, unsolicited, and to assert themselves in a crazy world.
And good for you, parents, for clearly valuing wholesome experiences, be it happy-volume or glitter cups, or even that battle you chose to forgo or did not win over wearing pajamas to Target.
Keep doing the good work, parents.
It shines through in your daughters in the best possible ways, even in Target ladies’ room.
Target Mom & Proud New Owner of a Glitter Coffee Cup
This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page and was contributed by Whitney Westbrook. Whitney writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife at So Very Whitney.