The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — On Monday I’ll be the proud aunt of a 14-year-old niece.
For 14 years, I’ve had the chance to get used to her being 14 someday, and I’m still not there. Maybe in another 14 years, I’ll realize that she’s not a baby anymore.
She’s not watching “Bear in the Big Blue House.” She, instead, watches “The Walking Dead.” Currently, and I mean as of this writing, she has blue hair. That also could change before this column makes it to print.
She talks about all the cute boys, most of them are seniors, at her school, and her social calendar sometimes doesn’t allow for Skype dates with her aunt.
She also has a lot more fashion sense than I ever had at 14. Living on the Pacific Coast apparently offers her more of an edge than I had growing up in a small Kansas town.
I remember after enrolling in the sixth grade, my mom took me shopping at Litwin’s Clothing. Up until that moment, most of the big department stores downtown were off limits in my house to kids.
Previously we’d been clothed from the hand-me-down box from various cousins. Being the only girl in the family made this a bit awkward. Fortunately, clothing from the ’70s were fairly unisex. Those maroon-colored jeans I got from my cousin, Steve, looked just as fashionable on him as they did me.
When mom suggested that we go to an actual store for back-to-school shopping, I thought my middle school experience was going to rock. I got to try on clothes that were new, clothes that were specifically designed for a girl and didn’t smell like boys.
And then, there it was. I found this sailor-inspired blouse that just begged me to take it home. It had a bib top and red neckerchief. Something makes me believe that somewhere on that blouse there were two brightly stitched red stars. My mom gave this shirt the green light, and all summer I couldn’t wait to wear this amazing piece of fashion to my first day of sixth grade.
That year as the doors opened to my local middle school, for the first time in my life I felt like a super model. I was going to own that school, all based upon this one blouse. And that was true, for all of about 10 seconds when I realized I was the biggest dork ever to walk the halls of that fine institution.
I quickly realized that most kids my age were wearing T-shirts and jeans, not blouses that looked like they were about to enlist. My world came crashing down and — I’ve no way to prove this — I swear that was the longest day in history. At least it was in my little life.
I knew shopping for real clothes was a lot of money and I didn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings, so instead I refused to wear that top again. Puzzled by why I had wadded the blouse that I had once held to the highest of standards and tossed it on the bottom of the closet floor, my mom questioned my behavior.
Too proud to confess my feelings, our relationship from that point consisted of mostly fights and tears. Being a teenager is not an easy battle.
And from that story, you can paint your own picture of what my teen years were like. I assume that sailor top is why I never had a date until college — you know, when I left the state.
Sarah, I hope that your teen years are smoother than mine. I hope you never make questionable clothing choices. I hope that you don’t have to leave the state before you can find true romance.
I can’t wait to see what the next 14 years brings. You’ve amazed me to no end, and I thank the good Lord every day that you call me Aunt Shana.
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