We got home last night from a 3-day trip to Tagaytay City. Some friends followed on the second day and spent a night in the same hotel. My brother and his family arrived on the third day. Yesterday, the third and last day, we all had lunch together. It was the last of the series of celebrations for my birthday this year. As we sat there talking, eating and marvelling at how much our kids have all grown, I was watching my brother’s kids–three boys aged 4, 7 and 9, wearing matching T-shirts and pants–and I tried to remember when was the last time that my own daughters wore matching clothes. Too long ago.
I won’t deny it. When my girls were younger–much younger–I shopped for their clothes and accessories endlessly and tirelessly. I always told myself it was part of the fun of having daughters. I would buy party clothes even when there was no occasion. I loved dressing them up. You know, when they were young, they didn’t complain. In fact, I always felt that they enjoyed it as much as I did. I didn’t always make them dress alike. It was more of complementary. Like the same dress but in different colors. If there was a “best dressed” award during Christmas parties when they were in pre-school and the first few years they were in grade school, they would have won the award, hands down.
Thing is, I never made them wear clothes that were replicas of grown-ups’ clothes. I didn’t make them look like tarts either. It was sugar and spice and everything nice. My sister-in-law (my brother’s wife) would often remark about how much limiting shopping for boys’ clothes was. It was just shirts and pants and accessories were limited to caps, socks and shoes. But with little girls, there were endless accessories for the hair, there were bags and slippers and sandals in a parade of colors and styles.
Then my daughters grew up. And they started squirming when I tried to dress them up like, well… like little girls. And they balked at the idea of wearing look-alike clothes. I can’t even remember exactly when it happened–it just happened. I’m not stupid. Of course, they wouldn’t be little girls forever. I’m not unreasonable either–I’m proud that they can assert their identity and individuality. Still, sometimes, I look at the photos from all those years ago and I can still remember the thrill of being a mother of young girls. Not that being a mom to older girls is less thrilling. But it’s different.
It isn’t even just about clothes. When they were younger, every trip we planned they looked forward to excitedly. They went along with all our plans. These days, well… we have to democratize everything. They have to have their say in certain things. We even transferred to another (more expensive) hotel after the first night in Tagaytay because according to the girls, the first hotel was kadiri.
Where to eat is a decision that has to be distributed–everyone has to have a chance to decide which restaurant to go to. The three days we were in Tagaytay… I said it wasn’t wise to eat in those Manila restaurants. You know, Yellow Cab Pizza or Figaro or Starbucks. I mean, we go to their city branches all the time. What’s the point in going to a far-off place and eating in the branches of the same old and tired restaurants? Well, I had my way most of the time but there were concessions–we had one breakfast at McDonald’s and we did pass by Starbucks on the way home.
Oh, well, it’s called change. I’m not averse to it but, sometimes, it does take a little getting used to.