With a high school freshman in the house, I’m accustomed to biting my tongue. Recently, during a routine family dinner, I nearly drew blood as the teenaged eye-roller to my right admonished my grammar.
The offense? A single word used to describe a musician’s style. I might have been talking about Bruno Mars, Usher or Justin Timberlake — I don’t remember — but I do recall the rest of the exchange:
Him: “You don’t say ‘swag.’ ”
Me: “Oh … Is that word out now?”
Him: “No, people still use it.”
Me: “Did I use it incorrectly?”
Him: “People can say ‘swag.’ You can’t.”
For years, I’ve aspired to be a cooler, hip sort of mom, but there was no denying it now. I was delusional.
And while I’m on the subject, I bet I can’t say “hip” anymore, either.
What’s worse, my half-finished June column promised to be a disaster. Apparently thinking Lady Gaga is still current automatically disqualifies me to recommend gifts for high school grads.
That’s why these recommendations come directly from the experts — graduating seniors who kindly took time out of their own eye-rolling activities to reply to the following question: “If given $100 to spend in Davis, where would you go?”
(For the record, I’m still capable of recommending actual gifts. They’re called gift cards and gift certificates at these “approved” locations.)
Dorm decor: Cost Plus World Market, Davis Ace and Target.
Transportation: Amtrak and gas cards.
See? They actually want to come home! (At least that’s my interpretation.)
Apparel: Fleet Feet, Bohème, Goodwill, Forever 21, Big 5, Davis Sport Shop, Haute Again, Soccer & Lifestyle, Ground Zero and Creme de la Crème.
Entertainment: Watermelon Music, Volley’s Tennis Shop, movie passes, The Avid Reader and Avid Reader Active.
Food: Mikuni, Sugar Daddies, Chipotle, Crepeville, Sophia’s, YoloBerry, Baskin-Robbins, Jamba Juice, Burgers & Brew, Woodstock’s Pizza, and Caffé Italia.
By the way, if your budget extends beyond $100, take note of an item on Caffé Italia’s menu: Vespa Balsamico — Steak Balsamico for two and the Vespa LX 150 for just $5,195. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
And brace yourself for the gratuity!
Experienced parents tell me there’s nothing more head-splitting, hair-raising or humbling than parenting a teen on the brink of adulthood, but there’s also no escaping the heartache when everyday routines are swiftly winding down.
Instead of worrying about what to make for dinner, soon-to-be empty nesters will wonder when the whole family will gather around the table once again. Regular moments passing the potatoes and discussing the day’s events (or correcting the errant parent) will give way to the hope of occasional visits, calls and reassuring texts.
That’s why the best recommendation I can make is a gift encouraging the grad to return home where ordinary days, in retrospect, are really quite extraordinary.
Like any family, Davis has its share of quirks. Intense fights about educational excellence (you’re all excellent enough), Prius owners who could walk faster than they drive, and way too many sushi buffets top my list.
But no matter where you go, the peace and comfort of safer neighborhoods, small-town connectedness and local businesses that “make it like Mom” will always outweigh our idiosyncrasies.
To all 2013 graduates: Congratulations; you’ve made us proud! May you never forget your roots in the town that will always root for you.
— Heidy Kellison lives and shops in Davis. Her column appears monthly. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org