Leah and I went to the mall at noon to run some errands. Still spring break here, and the mall was mobbed with kids, mostly teens, some with their parents. Have you had occasion to take notice of teenagers recently? I superimposed Ava’s face on every girl who walked by, leaning evermore heavily on my shopping cart as my knees weakened at the thought that my daughter would ever venture out in public — alone! — dressed in such fashion.
I wonder who’s going to be whose worst enemy when Ava hits that age, me to her or her to me? Is this going to be one of those damn, “all you can do is prepare them best you can and let them go” situations? That’s going to be a real opportunity for growth for me, I tell ya. I have all manner of opinions about clothing, piercings, tattoos…you name it.
In high school, Leah leaned a bit toward the grunge/goth end of the appearance spectrum. Which is fine. She needed to express herself. Or something. I can only glimpse the hell her poor mother must’ve endured during those dark years. With luck, that’s as close as I’ll get to it.
I really shouldn’t be such a prig. Let’s face it, I’m the last person who should be laying down fashion dictates. But I know what I like. And I know how I feel about Ava. And I know that I’d love the rest of the world to know the Ava I know. Will a lip piercing and shaved, dyed head (yeah, like Leah will ever let that happen) keep people from knowing that Ava? Maybe that’ll be Ava by then. Breathe, Mark. Breathe. I don’t know if I’m going to make it.