Friday, October 29, 2010

The Shark That Ate My Pride

I am a walking contradiction. I was reminded of that this morning--by of all things, the school Halloween parade.

This is the first year my children have not dressed as a theme. I had so many great ideas: smurfs, minions, rocks+scissors+paper, three blind mice, mario+luigi+princess peach. Even when the boys asserted that they really wanted to be Star Wars characters I thought...OK, K can be Princess Leia.

But, she had her heart set on something else. She saw a costume 6 weeks ago that she thought was hysterical...and she couldn't conceive of being anything else. My precious girl wanted to be a man eating shark. It shouldn't have really come as a surprise. Two years ago, as a hamburger, she had the time of her life. Last year, as Tinkerbell, she was bored. She was lost in the crowd.

Two weeks ago when it arrived in the mail she said, "I know it is a boy costume, Mama, but I don't care. It is going to make people laugh."

One of the wonderful things about K is that she is far more into laughter than she is about appearances. She would prefer to be funny than pretty. She is not prissy. She doesn't feel pressure to go with the crowd. She exudes joy--and it makes her beautiful. I honestly adore that about her.

And yet, when she climbed out of the car this morning in a big grey shark costume and walked down the sidewalk next to the princesses, the gorgeous plumed peacock, the sequin clad groovy girls, I got insecure.

was beaming. You could barely see her face through her huge costume, but the part that peeked out was so pleased with herself and giggling in anticipation of the laughter and joy she hoped to bring.

She wasn't insecure. I was. Anxious thoughts raced through my brain: What if she doesn't get the reaction she intended? What if they all think she is weird instead of funny? Pardon the pun, but what if the world chews her up and spits her out?

If I am honest with myself, my flesh wants her to be both--confident, secure and effortlessly gorgeous and popular. I didn't even fully realize it until today. I thought I was more mature and evolved than I am! Ah, the myth of having it all...

I bit my tongue and let her wear it. Yet, I confess, I had a precious Pottery Barn ladybug costume waiting in the wings, hoping she would change her mind and opt for something 'cute' like the other little girls. As I type, I am ashamed to admit it.

My gracious God reminded me this morning that this is the girl He created. Confident, secure, joyful and fun. Praise Him that she doesn't feel the need to be like everyone else.

I must not spoil that with my hopes and dreams and plans. This is my daughter. She is delightful and I am proud of her.


Vanessa said...

I think it's great that you are able to catch yourself and be reminded of the girl God gave you and intended for her to be!! What a good mama! And a very humorous costume!

Jewell said...

Greetings from NC! I have never commented before, but simply relish reading about you, your trio, and MD dad almost daily. K's costume, her personality, and her confidence are WONDERFUL. I love it!!! It is impossible for me not to chuckle when I first saw the photo even before I read what you wrote. The originality is terrific and way better than any predictable princess, ladybug, fairy, or whatever girly, girl costume could ever be!
All through college I was the babysitter/nanny for three doc families. I learned all about the balance of how those families work around Daddy's job, Mommy holding down the fort, and the kids being kids in high gear, full speed ahead. As a current PhD student myself who spends incredibly long hours in the hospital and lab working, it is inspiring to see you guys managing to do what you do!!! I think it is safe to say it is teamwork at its best and my sincerest kudos to you for doing it so well!!! To say I have much admiration for you and your husband is simply understated as the story you are writing together is incredibly beautiful. The good and the bad, the sunshine and the rain, the happy and the sad, it is real and for that, I have much appreciation for your writing it and sharing it here.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious costume! I'm glad she had a great time with it. I was never the princess kind of girl either and I'm thankful that my mom (like you) went along with my punk rocker costume, hideous monster mask, etc. From what I can see K will turn out to be a confident, beautiful, fun and well-rounded person. You're doing a great job recognizing your kids strengths and encouraging them!

Charon Benton said...

How cute! WHat a great way to rejoice with your precious K that she is made precious in HIS sight!!! I LOVE HER COSTUME!!!

Mindy said...

She is right! That is a hilarious costume! That is awesome that she has such confidence - something she has probably learned from her Mama!
And there is another great thing about that costume -- having never seen one like it before, I bet there will be no one else whose the same thing!


La Familia Garcia said...

I LOVE how much personality she has and how much it shines through! That is such a great lesson to be learned by everyone!Thanks for sharing!

davec777 said...

I struggle with this with my daughter also. She loves to wear her brother's outgrown clothing - boys slicky knee-length shorts, boy t-shirts, and oversized sweats. She is a lovely girl, but she loves the comfort of the boy clothes. I really struggle with holding my tongue. I am finally starting to learn that when I speak "my mind" too often that I am hurting our relationship, and certainly not changing her clothes choices. I am trying to pick my battles now, and only ask her to dress girly when the situation needs it - not all the time. Not quite the same situation, but I can see the road ahead for you =) Just love them and enjoy that individuality!

nen said...

Ok I am laughing hysterically at her costume. How adorable is that sense of humor. I think God is smiling on both of you....I wish I could copy and paste your comment..."I must not spoil that with my hopes and dreams and plans." into so many of our parents' souls. It is hard to see them using their children to live their own dreams. You are such a blessing to your children.

Terri McKinney said...

what a wonderful lesson, thanks for sharing your story!

GE is me said...

Oh my gosh! that costume is too cute! I saw a shark today @ a Halloween party, but it was just a shark, not a MAN eating shark! too funny! :)

And you are not alone~ a)I think this goes back to your post about wanting to raise "perfect" children & what God told you then. b) My girls~ 1 was/is Belle & the other pit crew for Lightening McQueen.
It's those different personalities.

Paula said...

I love her confidence. Just as how God created. To seek worthiness through Him and not man!! Oh the lessons to be taught from a child

Pam said...

I think you are speaking for lots of Mom's with this post. I have had the same feelings at times. She was adorable and I admire her gusto! Happy Halloween