From the mouth of my oh-so-innocent, sweet little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy:
“My mom says that I can be anything I want to be when I grow up. So, I’m going to be an African-American!”
An Open Letter To The Fathers of Daughters Around The World:
Starting at a young age, at a very young age, make father/daughter time a priority. Make it a such a regular, natural occurrence that by the time she is a teenager, she expects you to take her out for sushi or ice cream.
When she’s six, laugh at her knock-knock jokes, teach her to fish. Walk the dog with her and dance the Macarena. Listen to her giggle about her favorite television show. Sit in the front row at her school music assembly. Let her fix your hair with barrettes and bows. Tell her she’s beautiful, inside and out.
When she’s ten, indulge her passion for ice cream. Ask about her teachers at school. Know her best friend’s name. Ask about her friend’s friends. Tell her about your friends when you were a kid. Go to every gymnastics meet. Play catch with her in the backyard. Go on a hike. Listen. Watch. Teach. Tell her she is beautiful, both inside and out.
When she is 14, share your passion of sushi together. Have her teach you how to use your iPhone. Even if you already know. Watch a baseball game together. Go to her cheerleading competitions. Listen to her babble about things that seem unimportant. The important things will slip into the conversation when you least expect it. Listen harder. Tell her she is beautiful , inside and out.
When she is 19, take her out for coffee to hear all about her college classes. Listen as if your life depends on it. Nod. Smile. Offer advice if you think she’ll hear you. Sit silently, if you think she won’t. Just be there. As close as a text. As close as a phone call. Send her a funny picture in the mail. Make sure she knows you think of her every day. Tell her she is beautiful, both inside and out.
You have a power we mothers don’t have. You have the ability to teach our daughter that she is worth treasuring. The partner she chooses will be a reflection of you and all the work you did when she was still a little girl.
Will she pine for a boy and wait by the phone, just as she had to pine and wait for you? Or will she expect to be treated with kindness and consideration and respect? Will she allow her heart to be trounced on, over and over because she doesn’t feel she deserves better? Or will she let go of the frogs and hold out for a prince because you taught her that she is a princess?
Model good behavior with her mother. Show her how she should expect to be treated by her future soul mate.
Do these things, these simple, yet oh-so-important things to make life a little easier for the mothers of the daughters of the world. We tell our daughters that they are beautiful, both inside and out, every day. But they roll their eyes at us and say, “But Mom, you’re paid to say that!” When you say it, they hang onto your every word. Their eyes sparkle. They stand taller. They begin to believe what you say.
And then someday.
They will find a man, like you, who is beautiful.
Both inside and out.
Do you own one of those handy dandy color wheels? You know, the ones decorators use?
Don’t ask me why. Neither my husband or I can claim any talent in the decorating department. Although, we do watch a lot of HGTV together.
Have you ever noticed the crazy color names? Forceful Orange. Hyper Blue. Gusto Gold. Heartthrob. Lime Rickey. (Sure, set me up, barkeep!)
Well, after watching a lot of HGTV over the past year or so, my husband has decided to jump on the grey wagon. It seems everyone out there is painting their rooms shades of gray. And no, I don’t think it has anything to do with the popularity of that racy novel, although, I wonder if that racy novelist has been watching as much HGTV as we have.
We grabbed the color wheel and starting ticking through the colors.
Charcoal. Nope. Too dark.
Nuance. Too light.
Solitude. Too lonely.
There were the smart greys: Analytical Gray, Intuitive, Worldly Grey, Imagine, Balanced Gray. Even Intellectual Grey.
There were the dull grays: Mild Grey, Polite Gray, Reticence, Useful Grey, Proper Gray, Essential. And Modest Grey.
“What about Passive Gray?” my husband asked, holding the color swatch to the wall.
“Hmmmm. I don’t know. What do you think?” I replied.
“Eh,” I shrugged.
“What about Ponder?”
“I’ll have to think about that one,” I said.
“Of course!” I chimed.
Finally, he gets it and we’re in a fit of giggles.
After one hundred and eighteen shades of grey, which color did we finally go with?
Guess we’re not as trendy as we thought we were.
(To accommodate my outside America readers, I’ve evenly distributed equal spellings of grey and gray. Interesting note: “In the U.K., grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.” I have to admit. After writing this post, both spellings look wrong to me now.)
My daughter is attending one of our higher institutions for learning. It is a university with accolades galore. A good school. A recognizable name.
So, when she told me this story about one of her professors, I was a bit baffled.
She and her classmates had taken their last test before final exams a few days ago. The professor was handing back their tests and reminding them that they needed to study for the final from all of their previous exams.
“Oh,” she continued, “and I have to apologize. But my cat peed on your tests.”
“Was she serious?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” my daughter replied.
So, it smells. To high heaven. Of cat pee.
“I just feel sorry for the guy whose test was on the top of the pile,” my daughter said.
Okay. First of all, I’d be mortified, as a teacher, to hand back tests or papers that had been soiled in any way. Cat pee, being one of the most mortifying.
Secondly, why hand them back at all? Or, better yet, photo copy the tests and hand back the photo copies so that your student’s backpacks, cars and dorm rooms don’t have to smell like your cat’s urine.
Just a thought. Or two.
Nope. I’m still sitting here, shaking my head.