500 miles, 11 calls, 8 texts, 6 hours of Jonas Brothers tunes, 3 shopping malls, 2 teenagers, 1 photo of me in "lame" jeans.
These are the statistics of our recent school shopping trip to Spokane, WA. We have made an annual trek to Spokane for school shopping since our move to Montana from the "city". We stay at the Davenport Hotel (fabulous place) and eat at chain restaurants that we miss from our urban days. It’s become a fun, family tradition that we all look forward to.
This year our daughter brought along a friend and requested that we let them shop alone, rather than trail her in and out of the stores as we have previously done. The girls are 14, better shoppers than we will ever be, so monitoring their purchases is not important. Monitoring their safety, however, in a distant city, is an absolute requirement. Wanting to support their desire for autonomy, we compromised.
And that’s where the 11 calls and 8 texts come in. We agreed to hourly calls via cell phone and face to face meetings every two hours. The girls both had cell phones, and both agreed to answer our calls or texts – every time. Our schedules wound up frequently modified courtesy of texts and quick calls. In fact we mostly met early for shopping bag drop-off, lack of loot, or hunger. Not once, during two days of shopping, did we feel like the girls were out of touch or out of our reach. Even though a typical exchange was simply "R u ok?", "Yup", it was enough. Being able to communicate constantly, we were able to give the kids some space. At 14, space is a precious commodity (for kids and their parents) so we were grateful for the compromise we were able to strike. And, fortunately for me, I was still able to rely on the advice of my young fashion experts when I sent a photo of me in a pair of jeans that my daughter considmoered "lame" – didn’t need them anyway.
So, we all had a great time. Thanks to our cell phones, the Jonas Brothers, two great teenage girls, and the lovely city of Spokane.