Onesies and my daughter

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Dear Wal-Mart:

Do you see that picture?
That is my daughter. She is eleven months old, and I went to your store today to buy some onesies for her.  I was looking for a little bit more than just the plain colored t-shirt ones, because I plan to have her wear them alone on the hot, hot days of summer. 

Before I go further, I want to tell you about my little girl.
She is beautiful.  She will know that her beauty comes not from the clothes she wears or the numbers on a scale, but from inner peace, charm, and poise. 
She is strong.  She will be a strong woman, one who can kick butt when she needs to.  She will be strong because she will also know that sometimes strength is quiet and determined, sometimes it is kindness towards those who hurt you. 
She is wise.  She will be a woman whose wisdom comes from a combination of experience and teaching.  She will know that her worth does not come from a man or a mirror.

But right now, she is eleven months old, and she just needs some onesies.
And the strong, wise, beautiful woman she will become does not need onesies that ask if her diaper makes her butt look big, or has pictures of six inch leopard print stilettos, or is plastered with those freaking insipid Disney Princesses.  These were my three choices in your store today.

Yes, I know they are onesies.  And I know she is eleven months old, and has no idea what she is wearing, and the clothing she wears now has no bearing on the woman she will grow into. I understand this.

But I am looking down the road.  You are seeing my baby daughter; I am seeing the beautiful, strong, intelligent woman she will become.  And that woman is the sum of the choices that I make today.  Every choice in my parenting, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you, will factor into the woman she will be.

And so I took my $15 and walked out empty handed.
And yes, I will go elsewhere, and probably spend more money and time than I would have if I had just bought those darn onesies today.

But my daughter is worth so much more than the time and money I will spend searching for her clothes.  And the loss of the strong, beautiful, wise woman that she will be is a far greater loss to this world than my time and money right now.

Signed,
A Disgusted Customer

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When it hurts the most…

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I know I’ve been absent.

There’s been stuff going on.
Do you know about stuff?
Hurtful stuff. Painful, betrayal, I-thought-you-were-my-friend-and-I-trusted you stuff.
That stuff.

And in the middle of the weeping, confusion, aching deep in my heart, there is still diapers to change, juice to pour, messes to clean, work to go to.
I want to curl up and cry all afternoon, but there are two little people here watching my every move.  And in the middle of all of this, I suddenly realized–they may not remember this particular incident.  They may never know what happened to me(though, due to the circumstances, I suspect they will someday need to know), but they will know, they will remember, how I responded to it.

Do I want them to remember that Mommy was angry and upset and held onto that hurt and wanted revenge?
Or do I want them to, somewhere deep down inside, know that even when we are hurt, even when we are betrayed and confused, we rise above it and move on?

You see, I have two tiny little children.  They won’t always be tiny; someday they will be big.  Someday they will be adults, and someone may hurt them.  Maybe a job won’t work out for no fault of their own.  Maybe a spouse will leave them for someone else.  Maybe a best friend will betray their every confidence.
And in that time, I want them to remember, however, vaguely, these days.  I want them to remember how Mommy reacted.  How Mommy chose to be the adult in a situation where a temper tantrum might have been easier.  I want them to know that they, too, will survive whatever life throws at them, and that they will carry through with grace and dignity and respect–even when it hurts.

And because this is what I want for them, this is what I have to model for them.
Right now.
In the midst of the pain.

I am raising children to become strong, caring adults that put others before themselves.
And so that is what I have to be.
No matter how hard it is. No matter what stuff is going on.
Because two little pairs of eyes are watching me, and what I do now, how I respond to the hurt now, is what they will do in the future.