Sunday, February 14, 2010

Half Stockings

She spends her afternoons slowly picking away at one knee of her white tights. First it's a smallish tear, then a gaping hole, then pretty soon she's tearing off the entire bottom half.
Then she poses for pictures like this -- a wild-eyed, single-stockinged blonde Pippi in a lacy pirate skirt.

I'd like to introduce you to the rebelangel once again, because i am starting to get to know her too -- in the way i know she's gonna be. This girl is an artist right down to her stockings, (or half-lack thereof) and i just hope i'm helping her blossom the way that she should.

She's always been this way -- this creative pixie throwing just a tad too much pixie dust everywhere she goes. Only since she's started school it's become more pronounced. In some ways, getting her up early every morning and packing her off to this regular routine has done wonders for her. She's blossomed under the regular schedule, the regularity of her circle of friends, and the methodical path of learning things like math and reading. But at times she's also been a holy terror to get out the door in the morning, fussing and throwing temper tantrums if her outfit isn't just right. And then there's me being a holy mother terror right back, because, heaven forbid, she's tried to mix brown and fuschia.

But that's where i have to remember to be conscious of how she's blossoming. She fusses because she feels everything deeply -- perhaps deeper than i can muster. And what she's fussing about is her mark on this planet. When you're a kid you have so little that you can put your own stamp on -- there's no quirky artsy car to be had, no profession that's a source of pride or your own intricate garden to tend to -- so nearly all that's left is your room, and the clothes on your back. And of those remaining, it's only the clothes that allow her to express herself outside the walls of the house.

So i have to remind myself of how important it is to her to feel comfortable in what she's leaving the house in. Yes -- to some veto on my part of course, in that things can't be ill-fitting or inappropriate. But if it's a matter of her trying to mix colors i wouldn't mix, or wearing some rippy stockings, i have to let go. I have to admit that most of that need to let go comes from my own ego. If i think she looks goofy, the kneejerk reaction is to think it reflects upon me and who i am as a person -- not to mention who i am as a parent. And that has to stop.

I remind myself of this poem from Khalil Gibran as i am walking through the halls of my child's school, with other mothers casting questing looks at my child's half-stockinged legs:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

So baby,

maybe i will strive to

be like you

and rip up my

stockings too?

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