This is on me. I know it is. It’s my bad.
It started off as a great morning. 6 a.m. with the waking of the boys, making my way to the kitchen to pack lunches and serve breakfast. Typical. No big.
Then it was time to wake the beast. My little. 6:30 a.m. She’s not the easiest person to wake. She sleeps like she’s spent the night wrestling a small animal – her sheets, blankets and bedspread all over the floor. Her pajamas, taken off at some point during the night and she’s spread out with a tank top and shorts in the middle of her queen-sized bed.
As she’s rolling around, rubbing her eyes and wishing it wasn’t morning, I’m in her closet picking out her clothes. She got tons of gorgeous cashmere and mohair sweaters for Christmas. She got dresses, vests, and jean jackets. She has a better wardrobe than I do.
I picked out a gorgeous white sweater with gold glitter snowflake, and a super cute pair of pants.
A few minutes later she comes downstairs with a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. Her hair barely combed.
And I should have just let it be. I should have just had a sip of my coffee, swallowed hard, and not started…but I started.
“Why are you wearing that? You have such beautiful clothes and you opt for that?” (Again, not a proud, self-confidence boosting moment as a mother)
She responds, “I have gym today and I wanted something easy to change into.” To which I respond, “Does that have 2 arms and a neck hole? How is that easier than the sweater I picked out. They both have 2 arms and a neck hole! You have an entire wardrobe of beautiful clothes…”
I’ve hurt her feelings.
In that exact moment, I knew I’d screwed up. My role as her mother is not to judge her. It’s not to make her feel badly about her choices. It’s to lift her. To make her feel beautiful from the inside out. And I just blew it. And we both knew it.
After a few minutes of silence, she looked at me and said, “I’ll go get changed right now, Mama.“ And it broke my heart.
I took her hand and said, “Boy, I just had an epic parenting fail, huh?” And she looked at me and smiled.
Pulling her out of her chair, I sat her on my lap and hugged her hard. I told her what she wears isn’t as important as who she is. And who she is, is a beautiful from the outside-in, fierce and sassy, gifted and giving little girl. And while I may disagree with her choices, she is old enough to make choices on what she wears and how she does her own hair. She is gaining independence and I while I’d love to keep her forever little, remembering her in floral dresses and black patent leather shoes, my job is to guide her into adolescence and teen years, and hope that the lessons I’ve taught her will be remembered.
But this was not one of them. Not even close.
As she went off to school, I kissed her goodbye and just before she got on the bus, I texted her, “I love you.” After she pulled away, and I’d headed back to my coffee, I got a text back, “I love you, more.”
Screw ups and epic fails are gonna happen. We’re moms and dads – we’re not perfect.
But it’s in the realization of those screw ups that sometimes teach us all the best lessons.