Shopping, dreams and careers

I’m not a great fan of shopping, but when your eldest grows, the inevitable happens. She and I went on a mum and daughter shopping spree and unlike when she was small and I chose everything, now she gets to decide, within a reasonable price range.

“How about this?” I held up something. She shook her head, frowning with that wonderful childish grimace she must practise in the playground with her friends during the lunch break.

Pink is out. Blue is in. No more princesses or cuddly teddy bears. She’s into teen clothing and it is tough for me because she’s nowhere near that age and it is necessary to buy this stuff because of her lofty height – my God, she can almost look me straight in the eye. I’ll be sewing (terribly) this evening, taking in the waists on the leggings so they stay up.

(We spied a Frozen top for her sister, which upon our return is greeted with a shriek of delight. She, at least, is easily satisfied by princesses.)

During our little venture out into swarming crowds of Sunday shoppers, I treated her to dessert in Frankie and Benny’s. She looks all grown up sitting at a bar table (the restaurant was full), eating her pancake and ice-cream. She chatted about a science lesson. Ever since we visited the local high school last week, she seems to finally have grasped that science is more than melting ice-cubes and describing glass as transparent not opaque. I would like to think she might become a scientist, like me – she loves writing, not experimenting or drawing graphs.

So did I at her age. I wrote a lot of poetry about mountains, castles, all kinds of fairy tales. I ventured into sci-fi, Robinson Crusoe stories of tropical islands, mysteries (due to my addiction to Sherlock Holmes and Ed McBain). I dreamt up books about heroines and secrets.

Years later, I studied biology and put any thoughts of writing behind me. Now, I’ve come full circle, back to where I was at my daughter’s age, testing the waters, trying to determine if I’m about to drown in the deep end and disappear without trace, or bob up and down, keeping afloat and published. Yes, in print, out there, shelved somewhere.

I would like to think she doesn’t give up on her dreams as quickly as I did, but the reality is, science pays better than writing. It is certainly more sociable and practical.

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