Keep in mind I am aware I will NEVER be Mother of the Year…ANY year. And I’m fine with that. An example is that it took 2 below freezing days for me to finally take my daughters to get new winter coats. For those two days they wore my old sweatshirts to school (see how I roll?).
With that knowledge, you can imagine their excitement when I started driving the car toward the coat store and acknowledged that they would each get a new coat. My youngest, Iz, stated flatly that she would be looking for something furry, as it was “all the rage” these days. (Yes, I’m raising a 1920’s flapper.) My oldest, Soph, just wanted something warm.
As the escalator rose to the second floor and the coat section, the girls took off toward row upon row of coats–all sizes, all colors, all fabrics, all shapes. I hung back and just watched to see where I might be needed first.
Soph went immediately to a “double” coat of blue and green. Her favorite color being blue, this was no surprise and the coat was extremely practical. One coat for cold days, but if it were REALLY COLD, you’d add the extra layer of the second coat over it. It fit, she looked good, she was happy, I was happy, done.
I looked up to find Iz and did…2 rows over…at a cheetah print “furry” coat with red “satin” lining. “Mommy, I love this. Can I try it on?” I looked at her and then the coat and back at her very expectant and shiny face.
“Sure. But it doesn’t have a hood and..” She broke in, ” I know. It’s not the kind of coat we are looking for. I just want to see what it looks like on, ok?”
What happened next was a little shocking to me. So shocking that I almost broke down into tears in the middle of the coat racks. Iz very carefully and respectfully took the coat off the hanger and gingerly slid one arm into the first arm hole, and then the other and then shrugged it gently onto her shoulders. She turned to me. “Oh mommy, this feels wonderful.”
She then started moving toward the full length mirror at the end of the aisle. But she didn’t walk. She sauntered–like…Tallulah Bankhead or Bette Davis—certainly NOT like a 10 year old little girl. She stood in front of the mirror and turned this way and that. And then again. Striking poses that would put Fashion Week in NYC to shame.
You could see how she felt in the way she moved, the way her face was lit up. She felt glamorous. She felt beautiful. She felt wonderful. Then I made her take it off.
Iz sighed and put the coat lovingly back on its hanger and dutifully tried on a burgundy jacket that had a hood, but no red lining and no fur.
“How’s that feel?” I asked, hoping she’d say it was great and she’d really like it instead of the cheetah coat.
“The hood fits ok?”
“Yeah…it’s all fine.”
And I just stood there and watched her as she ran the zipper up and down the front and played with the belt of the coat.
She was right. It was a good coat. Practical. Useful. Just what we came to buy. It was fine. But already I missed the look on her face when she wore the cheetah. And I wanted it back.
“Iz, put that one back and grab the cheetah.”
“Really, mommy?” In her voice you could hear utter disbelief and awe.
“Really. But you’ll have to get a hat, because that doesn’t come with one.”
She fairly jumped over me to get to the cheetah coat and make a run toward the hat and glove section.
I just shook my head, and fought back tears.
I can’t give my girls everything they want all the time. That’s not what my life is. But at those times when I get to see that expression on their faces of pure bliss, I have a sense of longing for the ability to do so.
It is just a cheetah print coat with red “satin” lining. But the way it made Iz feel was awesome, in the truest sense of the word.
But what really hit me in the situation was that….the feeling Iz feels in that coat…the look on her face….we should all get that more than we do. In that coat, she’s not just Iz, she’s Isabella the glamorous. She has the world in her palm and she’s a winner.
In the car on the way home, the girls were wearing their coats. Iz had her black gloves on as well and she was sitting with her arms spread outstretched across the car.
“You know what, Mommy? In this coat, I feel like I’m so rich, I don’t have to work.”
Soph and I laughed. Yeah. It’s a good coat.