Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Hearts and Pink Stuff

Growing up, I wasn't really much of a girly girl. I wasn't much of a tomboy either, but I leaned in that direction. I chose gymnastics over ballet, because I didn't want to wear the fru-fru skirt. I could never get my bangs three stories high like the popular girls in middle school, but didn't really care. I dressed like a frump in high school in the mid-nineties, although in my defense, it was sort of the style (remember baggy flannel shirts, anyone?)

In college, I did manage to learn how to pluck my eyebrows and wear some makeup, but that's where it ended. When I needed a nice dress for some occasion or another, I had to borrow from my friends' closets. I just didn't care enough to have my own stash. And when I actually began to think about things like femininity and womanhood, I couldn't really identify where I settled in. I found myself avoiding things decidedly feminine, although I couldn't really say why.

And when it came to all things domestic - decorating a room or a house, cooking a delicious meal, raising children - I knew that I definitely wasn't 'that' kind of woman. I wanted a career; I wanted a passion; I wanted my independence; I didn't want to play housemaid or pretty face to some guy's 'real' life. I wanted to be, in a word, strong.

Well, ten years later, I've learned that strength looks different on different people. And being a strong woman doesn't have to look like or be defined the same way as being a strong man. I've experienced my share of independence, found my career passion in teaching, and along the way found a guy who wanted to create a life together that was meaningful to us both.

And slowly, I'm learning that it's okay to like pink, if I really like it. And I'm learning that creating a room that is aesthetically moving, or peaceful, or cheerful, is an art and requires thought and effort and creativity. And that making your own bread makes you feel connected to what you put in your body and can make you savor each slice. And that being a mother can elicit passion and appreciation for life and perspective on daily living that just wasn't even possible before.

So this February, when Valentine's Day rolled around, Eden and I went crazy with hearts and pink stuff. She wore her prettiest pink from head to toe, and even wore a barrette in her hair for the first time in her life. (It only lasted an hour, and only because she forgot it was there.)

We played with red finger paints and a heart-shaped sponges, making valentines for grandmas and grandpas.

We cut out heart-shaped cookies and put pink frosting and pink m&ms on them.

And it was fun.

And Eden doesn't have to be a girly girl if she doesn't want to, and my wardrobe is still very simple and doesn't contain much pink.
But if she does want to be a girly girl in her own strong way, bring it on!


Paul and Emma said...

Jamie: great post! I identify entirely.
One thing I am going to try to banish from our wee girl's childhood though is Barbies!

Emma W

Sarah said...

Love it! The finger in the icing is so me, too :)