I have quite a horrible reputation in my house. I am known as a complete grump when it comes to shopping. It’s so bad that my daughters dread asking me to even help them buy pencils. I fuss and procrastinate and have a bad attitude. Don’t even get me started on clothes shopping…it’s absolutely taboo.

Generally, I will agree to go shopping after they hound me for weeks and convince me that they don’t have a single stitch of clothing that is fit to be worn in public. At that point, I take them shopping, and after about 30 minutes, I am whining and stomping, “JUST PICK SOMETHING! I do NOT care about the minute differences in texture or color variation!”

The best day of my life was the day my teen daughter got a car and her own credit card – it meant I would never have to go to a mall with her again. My mom and my best friend have come to the rescue and taken the girls shopping for back-to-school clothes while I happily shoveled manure or buried my nose in a book, or stabbed my eyes out with a sharp, sharp stick, which is highly preferable to shopping, in my opinion. Even my husband has a better attitude about shopping with the girls than I do.

So, I surprised myself today when my 15 year old asked me to take her and her bestie shopping for homecoming dresses. I said yes before I could stop myself. HOMECOMING dresses. We’re talking endless rows of sparkles, tulle, and glitter. Not to mention the endless accessorizing: shoes, necklaces, should I wear a tiara? A headband? Should the headband have sparkles?? Should the sparkles be small or large? Should they be colored or clear? I knew what I was getting into, but I said yes, anyway. I even offered to take them to a huge mall in Denver, an hour’s drive away.

Here’s the thing. That teen I mentioned that has her own car and credit card? We just found out she’s graduating high school early. She’s accepting an early scholarship and will be gone in January, a whole 8 months ahead of schedule. And p.s., she doesn’t want to go to homecoming this fall. She will be in Ohio, full swing into her spring semester of college while her friends here in Colorado attend their senior prom. It’s over. I can’t go homecoming shopping with her again. I imagine that the next time I go shopping with her for an important event, it will be a wedding.

So, when her younger sister asked me to go shopping, I jumped at the chance. To my delight, I found myself absolutely and completely fascinated by the girls as they tried on dress after dress, laughing and giggling, and being completely in love with this moment in their lives. My 15 year old daughter is tall, blonde, willowy and slightly magical. She shimmers when she walks, but has the intelligence of the sharpest blade. She is just realizing the power of her body and her beauty and her mind, and it is gorgeous to watch her unfold.

Suddenly, it mattered to me whether she chose the red or the teal. It mattered which shoes matched best and if the necklace was of a similar style. It mattered because this was HER moment. It is HER sophomore homecoming dance. It isn’t about me. I had my years of dances and, yes, I’ve already survived three other teen girls going to their own sophomore homecomings. But this was HER first. And I wasn’t about to ruin it with a crappy attitude. In fact, I was going to find something to love about it.

Really. How lucky am I? I was spending an afternoon with one of the most fascinating, beautiful creatures on earth. How could I EVER have thought this was boring or irritating? I hope, when she is a mom, she will tell her daughter about the year everything changed with her mother. She’ll tell how, as she was walking to the car, she turned to me and said, “MOM. I am SO proud of you! You had such a great attitude today!” And she will have tears in her eyes as she remembers that today was a turning point in our relationship. She will remember how we danced in the car to Drake and joked about sex and discussed politics and religion…and how, in the end, decided she really looks beautiful in teal.