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The Day I Started Acting My Age
By Becky Kopitzke
Few things humble me like shopping for new jeans. There’s something about squeezing one’s bottom half into starched denim that makes a gal uncomfortably aware of her, uh, soft side, know what I mean?
As a stay-at-home mom of two young daughters, my job requires a lot of crouching to assemble Legos and change diapers. Every pair of pants I own eventually succumbs to holes at the knees. So on a reluctant mission to replace my favorite jeans, I discovered just how much motherhood has changed me—and I’m not talking about my shape.
The trendy teen store wasn’t a place I’d normally shop, but I heard it carried hard-to-find tall sizes. I ventured past the window display of mannequins in mini-skirts and set my sights on a pile of folded jeans marked “sale!”
“Can I help you find something?” A young sales clerk scanned the fruit snacks poking out of my purse. She twirled a jeweled lanyard around her index finger, and I caught a glimpse of blue fingernail polish. Her ID badge said “Poppy.”
“I need jeans. I don’t care about the label,”—I’ve never heard of these brand names anyway, although I imagine they’re all the rage among the prom court population—“I’m just looking for a good fit.”
“Got it.” She headed for a stack of denim near the back wall. “You want low-rise, right?” Apparently this is the obvious choice.
“Sure,” I drawled. I am a foreigner. I do not speak the language. “Just not too low.”
“Try these for starters.” Poppy tossed me a pair of distressed jeans with frayed holes peppering both legs.
“Um, no thanks. Holes brought me here in the first place.” I pointed to my thread-bare knees.
“Oh, okay, well, I’ll just bring you a variety of styles in your size, then, and you can see what you like.” She ushered me to a fitting room and flung pair after pair of funky blue jeans over the door. I pulled one on, buttoned and zipped, then gawked at the mirror. You’ve got to be kidding me. The waistline plunged nearly to R-rated territory.
I peeked around the corner. “These feel like they’re falling off. Do you have anything a little higher on the waist?”
Can you believe she snorted? Dissed by a sales girl half my age!
“Poppy?” I stood my ground. “Have you ever mooned your children when you bent to pick Cheerios off the carpet?”
Her eyes bulged then darted back and forth. “I don’t have kids.”
Right. So you have no clue what kind of fashion can survive them. I flashed a smile and handed back the jeans. “Something a little higher on the waist would be super.”
She raced to the denim rack and returned with what looked like a promising pair of hip momma jeans. “Try these. They’re the mid-rise cut.”
Much to my relief, the jeans slid on easily and rested a safe distance above the pelvic line—which is the fit I’d grown accustomed to, formerly known as low-rise. But this is mid-rise now, eh?
I remember when mid-rise meant a daring half-inch past the belly button. Now I suppose they call those granny jeans. If this is the future of fashion, I resolved, I’m taking up sewing.
When I stepped out of the dressing room, I came face-to-face with Poppy—and with my own maturity. For the first time, I realized I’ve become that older woman who distrusts youthful trends and prefers the comfort of modesty and old-fashioned values. And I also realized that is not a bad thing.
What separates generations is not fashion, philosophies, technology, or fads. Perhaps the real difference between younger me and grown-up me is confidence. Call it wisdom, or nerve—to go against the grain, to choose by preference rather than popularity. It comes with experience, I think. It comes with age. It comes with knowing who God created me to be, and the influence he has given me over the next generation (Psalm 71:18).
As I strolled out of the mall with my new jeans, I chuckled at my awkward fitting room victory. The lady in the mirror was not a teenager anymore, nor does she want to be one. I look forward instead to being the mom shopping with teenage daughters—and begging them to please wear a belt with those low-rise designer drawers.
Becky Kopitzke is a freelance writer, devotional blogger and family cheerleader. She and her husband enjoy pushing swings and pulling sleds for their two lovely daughters in northeast Wisconsin. Read more at www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com.