Today I was driving my 11 year old daughter to meet up with a friend. They were going to the mall and she was SO excited. My daughter has always been very good at being girly and I delight in her happiness. It’s contagious.
She has recently been trying to ‘be more healthy’. She informed me she is growing up and needs to pay more attention. I agreed. What a great objective. She cut out soda. She’s been exercising daily. She’s been working on making healthy food choices and eating appropriate portions. It’s been amazing to watch her and her steadfastness in this effort.
So, as we were in the car I said to her, “I am so proud of all your hard work. You are doing a great job and I can see you even look healthier.” She said “Thanks! My goal is to look like this girl in my class. She is so small that she looks like she’s wearing doll clothes.” I laughed out loud. I knew exactly who she was talking about and the description was perfect. But, after my immediate laughter I got teary.
This girl. This beautiful wonderful creature created just exactly the way God wants her – would really like to not be at all like God created her. My thought was “How did I fail in this?” I started a discussion about the difference between being healthy and trying to be something you’re not. My daughter will never look like she wears doll clothes. She’s as tall as her mother and she’s 11. She wears women size clothes and women’s shoes. She has long strong legs. She looks like her dad’s side of the family and she is all the things I wanted to be growing up. But, she will not ever look petite. She just isn’t made that way. AND IT IS OKAY.
It breaks my heart to know that despite all our effort to raise her as a confident girl she’s already falling into this ‘teenage’ trap. (Which isn’t really a teenage trap at all. It seems more like a girl trap or a human trap, but whatever). She is confident in so many ways. People comment on it often. It makes me wonder what a ‘self conscious’ girl feels like. I realize there are comments by children at school about her being tall. She’s told me about them and we discuss. There are comments about her having epilepsy. She’s told me and we discuss. But, what about the kids who don’t have parents to discuss? What then? And what about the parents who don’t understand that when they make comments to their children they are generally repeated to the classmate at school? It’s about time for adults to realize that their stereotypes and their ungodly desires to live through their children affect others and corrupt the good work done there.
The interesting thing is that I have always been short. I would have done anything to have her height and her legs! But, at age 37 I’ve realized that I’m probably not going to have a growth spurt anytime soon. I’m happy with me and the life I get to live. I’m blessed in so many other ways than height! I want that for all the people out there who worry about things that don’t really matter. This world is fleeting. Be who God made you to be and leave the rest out of it.