I have a daughter who is thirty-four years old. She is absolutely beautiful, but for three years of her life (between the ages of ten and thirteen) you'll just have to take my word for it that she even existed, as there are no photographs to substantiate that fact. Well, actually that's a little misleading. The truth is I could produce dozens of darling pictures of her during those years, if only she'd let me show them to you – but she won't. Why? Because in every one of them she is wearing (oh the horror!) glasses!
To be fair, she does sort of have a point. After all, the years in question occurred in the late 1980's, and as anybody who was around during that particular decade knows, fashion was downright bizarre. Everything was over-the-top and big – big hair, big jewelry, big shoulder pads, and yes, even big glasses. And so it was that when Lauren got to the fourth grade and we discovered she had inherited her father's near-sightedness, I made every effort – and spared no expense – to select a pair of eyeglasses for her that was totally "with it” (translation: spectacles the size of hula hoops!)
The end result remains a subject of a controversy in our family, even today. I look at photos of my daughter from those years and see a chic young trendsetter. Lauren looks at those same photos and sees Thelma from Scooby Doo.
We find ourselves at a bit of a stalemate, she and I – with her threatening to withhold my grandmother visiting privileges if I so much as think of posting a picture of her wearing glasses in one of my articles; and me alternating between pangs of guilt for permanently scarring my baby girl for life and grumbling silently to myself that she needs to "get over it, already!” Meanwhile I've become a real pro at using Photoshop to eradicate all evidence of eyewear from her face.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately (mainly because there's this really cute picture of Lauren that I'm dying to show you, but she'd probably hate it) and it occurs to me that the reason she completely freaks out every time she sees herself in one of those photos is because she's viewing it through the lens of today's styles. I keep reminding her that those glasses really were fashionable back then, but she just can't seem to get past how ridiculous they'd look if she wore them to the grocery store this afternoon (or worse, what people would think if she sent her precious little daughter off to preschool in them!)
Her response is understandable. I mean, let's face it – we all love laughing at Florence Henderson's wacky hairstyles on the Brady Bunch, and it's a hoot to look at wedding albums from the 1970's where the groomsmen were sporting sideburn "chops” and ruffled tuxedo shirts; but when it comes to photos of ourselves wearing those same weird fashion trends, who among us doesn't wince just a little bit?
As for Lauren, nobody has a classier sense of style than she does (of course, it helps that she's tall and slender and graceful as a gazelle!) She buys great-looking clothes, both for herself and for her young children. Her daughter, Avery Kate is frequently outfitted in precious little leggings and tunic tops; or in layered sweaters over embroidered jeans, with her silky brown hair swept back in matching bows. If they ever came out with an issue of "Preschool Vogue” she'd be the perfect cover girl!
But mark my word, twenty-five years from now that same little girl is going to look back at photos of herself as a child and shriek, "Mom! How could you dress me like that? I look like a total geek” (or dork, or dweeb, or gloob, or whatever the current term happens to be at the time.) Then she'll add insult to injury by saying, "Don't you dare show those pictures to anybody, ever, as long as I live!” And so the offending images will be tucked away in a box (or more accurately in a digital folder on Lauren's computer) banished forever from public view – just like all those pictures of Lauren in her adorable glasses have been banished.
Not that I really have much room to criticize. After all, for three years of my own life (between ages twelve and fifteen) you'll have to take my word for it that I ever existed myself, because that's when I wore braces, and believe me, those photos are NEVER going to see the light of day!