31 January 2005

Single...With Children: Happy Birthday Katie - You Are Such A Gift!

Single With Children: 20th birthday was milestone for columnist

By Susie Parker
Publication Date: 09/10/03

My daughter turned 20 just the other day. Though it wasn't the magical "21," it was still something of a milestone, at least for me. I am now the mother of a teenage son and a daughter who was a young adult long before she turned 20. It was a passage of sorts.

My daughter decided that for her birthday she wanted to spend the day shopping with me. It started with lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Not just a "let's grab a quick bite to eat" kind of lunch, but the long, lingering kind that friends have.

We talked about so many things. Since she'd returned home from Ireland, she had been so busy with work and getting re-adjusted to her new "old" routine, that I'd felt a little out of her loop. On this day, I felt I was being invited back in and was happy to accept her invitation.

After lunch we went downtown to some of the more eclectic shops that people far younger than I tend to frequent. Before I knew it, she was having me try on things that affected a look I didn't quite feel I could pull off, but I got so caught up in her pronouncement that it was "just perfect for you" I couldn't resist. And amazingly enough, though this shopping spree was supposed to be all about her, she talked me into buying a few items myself.

She did quite well herself. I was amazed at how fast she could find the clearance rack upon entering each store. She also found a beautiful blue pea coat that she zeroed in on after perusing the aisles. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she looked at the price tag. I walked over and cajoled her into trying it on anyway, hiding my own shock at how such a small coat could come with such a high price. She relented, and it fit perfectly. The smile she wore as she checked herself out in the mirror was all I needed to see. When we were ready to check out, I walked over and added the coat to the stack. After all, you only turn 20 once.

Upon exhausting all of the downtown shops, we headed for the mall. I mean c'mon. Two women can't possibly look themselves in the mirror after a day of shopping without purchasing at least one (and usually two or three) pairs of shoes. Since I figured we were both pretty self-respecting and not wanting to break any unwritten shopping tradition, we did just that.

Pretty soon our arms were aching with the bags that were starting to pile up. We stopped at our favorite coffee shop and ordered something that would give us an excuse to sit down for a few minutes. We surveyed our stash and patted ourselves on the back for all the money we saved because I don't think we bought one single thing at full price. As I looked over at my daughter, I couldn't help but remember 20 years ago when she stubbornly refused to keep those tiny infant socks on her feet. I had no idea at the time how fast 20 years could possibly fly by, but I'd swear time must have been a passenger on the Concorde.

Our relationship has evolved, just has my daughter has matured. Without realizing it we were relating on a different level now. The day we spent together felt more like being with a special, dear friend rather than the sometimes adversarial moments in past years when I couldn't help but sometimes say, "You can't seriously be considering wearing that!" And while I have fond memories of every single stage of development I've been privileged to watch her navigate, I must admit I'm proud of the person that she has grown into being. And most of all, I look forward to spending more time with this special friend of mine. Very well done, Katie.

Readers can e-mail Susie Parker at Susiewrites@gmail.com or write to her c/o Amarillo Globe-News, Features Dept., P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166.

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