My Five Year Old Woman

I’ve never been a girly-girl. For most of my life, make-up, fashion, and nail polish were as mysterious to me as to they are to most guys. I played three different sports, wore only about three different outfits to all four years of high school, and went by Chris. I think the term is tomboy, but for me it was a little more thorough than that. I truly had androgynous tastes–like Hotwheels for Christmas instead of Barbies (although I got the Barbies, too, and used them to make bridges in the dirt for the Hotwheels).

I also grew up poor–no indoor plumbing poor–until I was in fifth grade, then we had a modest income that allowed us to move into a house in a neighborhood. My mother passed on a legacy that fashion, make-up, salons were all a waste of money–that being a modern woman was a waste of money. I learned the lesson well–don’t spend more than ten dollars on yourself, ever. I learned that I wasn’t worth it.

I was comfortable with life for many years. I had two boys and felt like I knew what to do with those (pssst! The secret is Legos.). Then I had a girl. Suddenly I had know idea what I was doing.

She’s just like me. Well, sort of. She’s opinionated and bossy, strong, and enough of a handful that I wonder how my mother ever survived me. At the same time, my daughter is nothing like me. She wants to wear jewelry (mine, mostly), wants her shoes to match her shirt, and YELLS at me when I do her hair wrong. She’s teaching me a lot about the value, the personal value, of being a woman and being worth it. I want to give her a very different legacy than the one I inherited.

What I’ve learned from my daughter:
1. You can never have too many hair bows.
2. ‘Pretty’ is a verb.
3. Fashion is as much about not matching as it is about matching.
4. Shoes. Shoes. Shoes.
5. Do your hair every day, even if you’re just staying home.
6. Layers.
7. Give your friends compliments.
8. Pink is not just for little girls.
9. Nail polish (she says ‘polnailish’). And you can paint every fingernail a different color if you can’t decide on just one.
10. Sparkles make everything magical.

What I want to teach her:
1. Taking care of yourself is ALWAYS worth the time and money.
2. Say ‘Thank you.’
3. When you look in the mirror, give yourself compliments.
4. Brazilians.
5. To go along with #5, not all waxing technicians are created equal. Find a good one, follow her advice, and tip her well.
6. Victoria’s Secret is the bomb.
7. Work out–it’s the best ‘me’ time of the day.
8. Yes, he should bring you flowers AND pay for dinner.
9. It’s okay to be loved, even by yourself.
10. Say ‘I’m sorry.’

Maybe some day, I’ll even do all of these things. 🙂


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