I learned a lesson today.
It was the kind of lesson that you know, if you’re a parent, your kids teach you without either of you knowing it. The kind that makes you feel very, very small.
God knows I’m not a model parent. I’m moody and ill-tempered. I have little patience. I swear.
I swear a lot.
But there’s one thing that I have really striven to nurture in my kids and that’s their creativity. Their sense of wonder. Of possibility.
Instead of coloring books, I gave them blank paper.
Instead of games, I told them to make their own.
I encourage writing their own stories as much as reading those of others.
But increasingly, I’ve been missing the mark.
Today was Picture Day at school and last night my daughter told me she wanted to wear the dress my husband calls her Elf Maiden Dress. I told her it wasn’t really appropriate attire for school. After all, hadn’t we talked about how she’d wear it at Christmas?
Me: It’s for special occasions.
Her: But Picture Day is a special occasion!
After much discussion before bedtime last night, she settled for three possible outfits she’d wear to school. I could tell her heart wasn’t in it.
This morning as he stumbled to the coffe pot, my husband says, “I’m supposed to work on you – to get you to let her wear that dress to school.” And suddenly I saw the situation the way my 6-year old did.
She was getting her picture taken today. Her mom wouldn’t let her wear her favorite dress.
And I thought, what the hell is my hang up? If you can’t wear what you want when you’re a kid, when are you going to be able to? I thought of The Red Dress Project and felt just stupid.
So today she wore her Elf Maiden Dress, cable knit tights and Twinkle Toes Skechers. I can’t believe I didn’t realize how perfect it all was until I saw it.