I will never forget the day that the ultrasound tech said, “It’s a girl!” I immediately began looking at all the of the ruffle outfits, matching hair bows and shoes that cost way more than my own. As a first time mom, I had my list of things that my child would “never” wear, and I had those kids pictured in my mind that she would “never” act like. Oh to be young and think you have it all figured out!
There is one instance that still haunts me to this day and if I could have a do over on this parenting fail, I would jump on it! We have friends that are Chick-fil-A Operators, and I helped them put on a Daddy/Daughter event for several years. This specific year was a princess theme and our daughter was so excited to dress up as her very favorite princess, Belle. She had the beautiful Disney yellow dress with gold trim, and her hair was adorned with a beautiful tiara. She was feeling pampered and beautiful and she even got to where a tiny bit of blush and lipgloss. It came time to choose the shoes and that’s where my parenting fail happened. She only had one pair of dressy heels, and when you are six years old, little heels make you feel like a princess. Well, these dressy heels were silver and if you remember, I told you her dress was yellow with gold trim. I wouldn’t dare let her wear silver shoes with a gold dress...ugh that was so hard for me to even type into this blog. She had perfectly good and cute gold glittery flats that would match so much better. After many tears being shed, I won the battle and she showed up to the dance in gold flats. While working this event, I was able to see all the beautiful princesses come through, but there were two that really caught my attention. It was obvious that these two sisters had rummaged through their dress up chest and had chosen very carefully each piece that they would proudly wear to this dance. They were beautiful and they were so proud of what they had chosen to wear. They were able to put their unique personality into their outfit. Their mom doesn’t even know it, but she taught me a huge lesson that day!
That night, I vowed to be careful and never intentionally defeat my child’s confidence on something that, truth be known, I was worried would reflect badly on me. I was so caught up in what others thought that I didn’t care about my own child’s feelings. I do think it’s important to teach our children the basics of good hygiene, how to put outfits together, etc., but I also think there is a time to let them be little. I wanted my daughter to have the prettiest dress, the perfect hair and of course shoes that match. Do you know how exhausting it is to try to keep up with everyone else? As women, we feel that everything reflects on us; our husband, our children, our home, our cars, etc. It has taken time and maturity, but the Lord is changing my heart to these things in my own life and in the way I see others. There is so much freedom in taking the mask off and being true to who God created you to be.
Our daughter is now nine and she is coming into her own style and personality and I could not be more proud of her. Since this incident, we were blessed with another child, a boy. He is three years old and you might find him in the same St. Louis Cardinal outfit for three days in a row (because it’s his favorite), or every pair of socks pulled up to his knees because of course every pair are “baseball” socks. Every time he does this, I just smile, because I know the joy that he feels and I can see it all over his face.
Momma’s, it’s not a comparison game and it’s not about us. Philippians 2:3 tells us, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” May we love each other well and lift each other up, and may we also pray that our children become exactly who Christ created them to be...even if that means they are not just like us. Just let them be little!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!