She rolls her eyes at yet another story of Africa. She cringes when she catches a hint of a social justice rant erupting from your lips. She doesn’t want to hear you talk about hunger or human trafficking or unfair trade rules. She gets embarrassed when you tell the sales clerk you don’t want a plastic bag and would rather carry your items out of the store in your hand. She’d rather go shopping than just about any other activity in the world, and she doesn’t want to know about the stuff that’s produced by child labourers in Bangladesh, or about the mountains of waste created by overconsumption. She gets annoyed when you insist she can walk to the mall instead of burning extra gas to run the car.
But then one day, she comes home and tells you “I’m doing a project for school about the political situation in Zimbabwe – about how Mugabe stole the election.” And then she adds, incredulously, “most of my friends don’t even know where Zimbabwe is!”
And then, another day, “Mom – do you want to watch this with me? Tyra Banks is talking about sex trafficking. Can you believe what’s happening to those little girls?”
And then there’s the day when you’re at the mall with her, and she tucks her new shorts into her purse and shakes her head no when the cashier offers her a bag.
And your heart does a little leap of joy, because despite her best efforts to ignore you and be as different from you as she can, some of it has gotten through.