It was and still is an educational experience for one of my adult daughters to shop with a younger sister. After a particular stressful shopping trip, they would stumble through the door, complaining about their hard to please sibling. Typically,they'd roll their eyes and sputter,
" Do you want to know what kind of dress she wanted me to buy?!"
In response to their tirade I'd laugh,
"Oh, we understand what you just went through, sweetie. It is payback time! Now you know what your dad and I went through."
I remember scores of tragic-comic dramas as we shopped with our daughters. One example is particularly telling. One of my daughters was just thirteen and about to graduate from our country elementary school to high school. Since I was still surrounded by little people and laundry, Dad volunteered, quite innocently, for the shopping expedition into the city.
Four hours later, she barged through the kitchen door, glared at me and announced very dramatically,
"I am never
shopping with him
She stomped through the kitchen and slammed the solid wood door to the hall behind her with a dramatic flourish.
A few minutes later, her father slipped through the front door, shoulders slumped and silently communicated his exhaustion and defeat.
"So", I queried tentatively, "How did it go?"
Michael sighed and began to describe one scene in a dress shop. He had picked out a few pretty dresses which he felt were appropriate. Holding up a flowered print dress with a high, round collar, he called out to his daughter,
" This one is very pretty."
Our daughter responded by rolling her eyes dramatically,
"Daaad...that's way too childish."
The sailor style dress that Michael thought was perfect was similarly dismissed.
Then, our thirteen-year pulled out a black, spaghetti strapped, slinky, black dress and squealed,
"Dad, this is exactly what I am looking for!"
Poor dad sighed but allowed her to try the dress on.
She emerged from the dressing room complaining,
"It makes me look fat
Right then and there, my poor husband's only desire was to sink into a deep hole because the store attendant and her customer both weighed about 300 lbs. each.
Both women chimed in and exclaimed to our 115 lbs. teen.
"Oh no dear, I don't think you look fat at all!"
Somehow,everything always seemed to worked out. On this occasion, it was Melissa, an older sister , to the rescue. She borrowed a cream coloured dress from a friend, embossed with swirls and a Chinese styled collar that was decent but not childish. The dress delighted our daughter and calmed my husband's nerves.
"Do you want to know what kind of dress she wanted me to buy?!"
Oh, we know, sweetie,we know.