president’s day steal

February 21st, 2011

Some truths are self-evident. Money can’t buy happiness. Appearances don’t matter. You can’t tempt me with a mindless shopping spree. So it’s easy for me to say no when my 11-year-old daughter resumes a noxious whine for skinny jeans or a bazillionth pair of dimestore earrings. I’m not the mom who shops. I’m the mom with the $12 haircut, wearing the 10-year-old sweater, in the same faded khakis you saw me wearing yesterday. I am the one with a half-empty closet, a near-empty wallet, and a brand of religious devotion that keeps them that way. I’m a Buddhist priest. I’m not the mom at the mall.

That changes one day on the way home from school. “Can we go to the mall?” my daughter asks wearily, and instead of refusing again, I turn onto a street I never take, into the asphalt sprawl. The two of us are fairly airborne as we enter the cool cavern through the automatic doors and ride the escalator past the food court. Striding beside me on the concourse, my daughter tightens the subtle distance she has begun to keep from me in public. I notice her head tops my shoulder. Her face has narrowed, and her lips have grown full. She flashes me a comrade’s secret smile and reaches for my hand. “Mom,” she says, radiating her bliss, “I don’t think Dad gets this.”  In one unexpected turn, I’ve entered the exuberance of her girlhood, a treasure too fleeting to resist.

From my essaylet on stolen happiness in the March issue of Whole Living magazine.

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  1. A lovely gesture. It’s so important to take another path occasionally, especially when your child wants to venture down it. She will remember your open heart.

    Comment by Sharon — February 21, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  2. I love it. And I can’t top Sharon’s wonderful and spot on comment.

    Comment by Dwan — February 21, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  3. This is so lovely and decadent! As much as children need restraint, I think sometimes they need some spontaneous permission, an ice cream in the middle of the day, a pair of skinny jeans. I am trying to find that balance of restraint and exuberance in my own life as well. Thanks for such a fun post – am going out to buy the magazine!


    Comment by pamela — February 22, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  4. Karen, I love this reminder to be fluid and flexible, to seek joy, even if it’s not on the path we usually walk. A gift to your dear girl, and to the rest of us as well!

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — February 23, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  5. Congrats and beautiful. I’m so happy I’m a subscriber!!!

    Comment by Erica — February 24, 2011 @ 8:07 am

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