This morning I was looking for my eyelash curler and found myself in my daughter’s bathroom drawers opening and closing drawers filled to the brim with powders, pencils, compacts and brushes. There were grocery store brands, Sephora brands and a smattering of Chanel (I know the way to my daughter’s heart) and I started doing quick calculations. $20 here, $8 there, forty five dollars for eyeshadow? What was I thinking? Does she even appreciate it?
I grew up in a schizophrenic household. My father was wealthy and my mother struggled with her finances. She was a teacher and we all know that teachers aren’t in it to get rich. So our weekdays were spent in Manhattan Beach where most homes had one car and fancy people had two bathrooms (Manhattan Beach has changed) and on weekends I’d be on tip toe peering over the counter at Saks Fifth Ave asking the saleslady to call my dad to charge it. I didn’t know that my clothes were expensive until the PE teacher would point it out (thanks for that Mrs. S – it was awesome of you to yell out the price of my Papagallo wool shorts in 6th grade). I just knew that there were things I wanted or needed and someone got it for me.
So this morning when I found my eyelash curler I chortled and remembered that I don’t even need it because I’m practicing false lashes by putting on a few of those each morning. When I play tennis this afternoon they may fall out in little bundles of three hairs and make everyone giggle. As I was retrieving the eyelash curler and looking at my daughter’s makeup bounty I realized that it doesn’t matter if she appreciates it. It’s what she has. It brings me pleasure to buy her a new bronzer so I’m giving that selfishly. When my son asks me for money for bowling I know it’s $20 that’s going to disappear quickly, there are gutter balls and arcade games and no real sense that it’s too much money for too short a time period but I give to them because it brings me pleasure. I like saying yes and they don’t have to be grateful. They just have to be kids.
I think it’s fair for kids to live the lifestyle their parents give them and to appreciate it a little later in life. Teenagers in particular don’t have to be swimming in appreciation for everything. It’s nice if they are but it’s unrealistic for them to imagine a life or a lifestyle they’ve never experienced. There’s a lot of time for that. They’ll be broke in college, they’ll be broke their first years out of college but I’ll still send Jane Chanel lipsticks in care packages and give Alexander money that he doesn’t need because sometimes it’s okay to just indulge everyone.