This chapter captures how I feel around my two teenage daughters. Many parents tell me how much harder teen girl are to raise than boys. There are definitely challenges with their emotions, and their intricate wiring, but honestly I enjoy the captured moments of getting to relax and be myself with them. There is such an elated thrill for me to just go shopping together, finding out what there unique differences are along with how much we have in common. Then there’s the special moments when I get to share something brilliant and amazing I see in them and have their undivided time to let them know. I don’t stay close with my kids because I’m afraid they will make wrong decisions, I stay close to them because their mine. I decided I want these three amazing miracles of God, and now I get to enjoy them as much as I can. And then a funny thing happens; they open up to me, ask my advice, and blossom into amazing gifted women.
As Hallie and her mother walked down the lively street, their tight faces relaxed and their steps loosened up. They browsed displays of sparrows, fairies, and garden gnomes at various vendor stalls, taking turns calling the other one over to come and see what treasures she had discovered.
She peered over Mom’s shoulder to ogle a tree dripping with cool vintage jewelry on the counter. Mom picked one like a ripened fruit and said, “I love how they took old watches and skeleton keys and made them into necklaces.”
Hallie found some butterfly wings encapsulated in glass and framed as a pendant. She picked it up and swiveled it in her hand to catch a glimmer of the iridescent blue. “Mom, don’t you think butterflies should be called flutterbys instead?”
“Wow.” Mom tilted her head and raised her eyebrows. “That’s an amazing thought.” She snatched the jewelry from Hallie’s grasp and glanced at the price tag. “What a steal! You have to have this necklace. It’s beautiful, and it’s you. From now on you’re my little blue flutterby.”
Hallie’s insides fluttered as well, and she realized how much she had missed spending time with Mom.
They must have entered half a dozen different photo studios, and after leaving each one Hallie saw another aspect of her mother that she had never noticed before, like what she was truly passionate about capturing in her work. At one studio in particular, Mom drifted away from the landscapes that she always loved and became engrossed by pictures of people’s faces and of everyday people overcoming insurmountable obstacles in nature.
Hallie joined Mom, who stood transfixed by a photo of a climber with every muscle contracted, trying with all his might to hold on to the side of a cliff.
Mom broke the silence. “What do you see?”
Hallie gazed at it for a while. “I see someone strong surrounded by great difficulty but refusing to give up.”
Mom turned away from the photo and looked at Hallie with a smile that lit up her face. “Wow, great job! That’s exactly what I see when I look at you.”
Hallie, who sometimes felt a generation of differences between them, beamed from the encouragement that bridged her to Mom once again.
Back on the street, an aroma of garlic and lemon tempted their noses, and their empty stomachs grumbled as they pursued the scent until they reached the entrance of a local fish-and-chips dive. They opened the door to a yeasty fragrance of beer batter and steaming herbs from a chowder cooking on the stove.
The mother-daughter pair walked inside. Hallie took in a deep breath and studied the menu. Her stomach growled loudly, and she glanced at the people around her to see if they had heard then wrapped her arm around Mom’s elbow. “Let’s get one of everything!”
“Done,” Mom said.
They ordered fish, crab cakes, clam chowder, and of course diet soda to save on calories. Hallie found a table in the corner facing outward, and they plopped their bags down and sat, exhausted but content. They played their game of spying on random people in the room and dubbing in the voices for them. Just relaxing and being themselves around each other again was so fun. After playing around, eating great food, and letting their feet rest, they continued on their journey.
Leaving the restaurant, Hallie heard violin music that called out to her. She looked at Mom, and without words, Mom followed her until they arrived at a secondhand music shop. Hallie stood next to Mom and listened to the vibrant-sounding strings coming from a college-age student trying out his newly purchased instrument. Hallie gravitated toward the storefront window and peered inside.