We were headed to the mall. The girls had the day off school and I’d given in to their repeated requests to “get a frozen yogurt and window shop,” even when I knew full well we’d end up with greasy food court fare and bags from Justice.
I mean, I’m human. Sometimes I can’t resist treating the girls to a mall trip because they love it so. They are girls, after all.
I remember thinking that very thing when my nine-year-old came down the stairs wearing high heels and blush.
She also carried a purse packed with a wallet, wore dangly earrings and sported skinny jeans.
Although a dozen DON’T GROW UP SO FASTs zapped through along my brain synapses, I didn’t say anything at first because I’d noted a faint touch of uncertainty in her. This was new.
Her “high heels” were sweet low ones set with faux jewels that I’d bought for her to wear to the Father-Daughter Dance last year. Her purse and wallet were my hand-me-downs. Her jeans I’d bought at our last mall trip and then, they looked less mature paired with Converse and a tee.
She didn’t look at me directly because she’s a perceptive child and must have known what I was thinking.
“I’m only wearing makeup for fun,” she offered.
I couldn’t bear for her to feel awkward at trying this new “I’m not a little girl anymore” look. “Did you just feel like getting dressed up?”
She nodded and I caught her taking stock of herself in the hall mirror.
A very slight roller coaster feeling tickled my stomach innards. She’s growing up and I don’t have much time.
I don’t have much time to imbue her with confidence and self-love; a conviction that she’s OK how she is and doesn’t need to do what her friends say just to fit in; and a belief in herself that no one can shake with a cruel comment or apathetic disregard.
I need to raise her with a healthy ego and a kind everything. I want her to know that high heels don’t make the woman and to never look out the corner of her eye to see what people think about what she’s wearing or being.
I want to carry her through middle school and high school to repel all attacks on her self esteem and protect her sense that all is good in the world.
I want to follow her through every first in her life and ensure they’re all happy and right; I need her to know she’s a million little pieces of person and they’re all perfect.
I’ve got to get on with it because those high heels broke my heart.