Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bee Stings

Last night we wrestled Addie into her Halloween costume for a dress rehearsal (mainly to make sure it fits). She picked it out herself, at Marshall's last Saturday. I held up several adorable 24 month sized outfits and she said no, no, no to all of them with a shake of her little curly head, until finally I held up my own personal favorite...a bumblebee. It has sparkly, glittery gossamer wings and a tiny black stinger and adorable antennae - perfect for "Papas' Little Bumblebee." At the sight of it she nodded her head solemnly, then broke into a gleeful grin.

So far, so good.

But then we got home with it, and I tried to put it over her head. Screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ensued. I thought maybe she was just tired, in a bad mood, being obstinate. Another time, tomorrow perhaps, she will wear it. She will love it.

Tomorrow and the next day and the next, same tune, same dance. Keith and I took to hugging the bumblebee costume in great, big shows of affection several times a day. We kissed the bumblebee. We loved the bumblebee. The bumblebee was "so pretty!" we'd exclaim. Nada. Zero. Zilch. We tried the bumblebee costume on her favorite stuffed animals and baby dolls, at which point she would lean way, way over and give the dolls and animals a tiny peck on the cheek, as long as she could ensure no direct contact between herself and the costume would be made.

The bumblebee costume was hated!

Finally, last night, I'd had enough. Between banshee wails and heaving sobs Keith and I managed to hold her wriggling body still and force the costume over her head. She bucked and kicked and pushed as I wrangled her arms through the holes. She howled as I held her up to the mirror and said...

"You know who I bet would like this outfit? Logan! Logan would probably LOVE this outfit."

I said the words. And then I was instantly shocked and horrified to realize that statement was my first reaction. Because Logan is the five year old little boy of her daycare "teacher" and he's great, we love Logan. And Addie really loves Logan. She gets an extra special smile on her face when she says his name (which she pronounces as "Bacon").

But I'll be damned if I'm going to teach my daughter to wear clothes she hates because a boy might like her in them!

She has a whole lifetime ahead of her full of the pressure to conform to another's expectations, to make a certain impression, to be and look and act a certain way. And that's an unavoidable part of living in society. And she will get that. She will get message from everywhere, from all sides, over and over again in various gentle and not-so-gentle ways. She'll get plenty of that, enough.

But she's too young!

And that's not what I want her to get from me.

I don't want to be another voice that reaffirms everything the world says about her. I want to be the other side of the coin telling her that she is beautiful and amazing and talented and brave and smart and kind and strong, exactly as she is. That her greatest, highest calling is to live into exactly who and how God has created her to be. That she is loved. That she is enough.

And she doesn't have to wear a damn bumblebee costume because some silly little boy might like it.


Although, she did end up liking it. And we will wrestle her into again on Halloween. Because I'm her mommy and I said so. And she really is so stinking cute in it.