Today I got the eye roll. I had mistakenly assumed that this gesture wouldn’t rear its ugly head until my love was at least thirteen. Even though I was unprepared for this, and initially a little shocked, it was hard not to laugh at such exaggerated annoyance coming from my “I’ve been three for all of three days” daughter.
In fact, looking back it was kind of adorable. She wasn’t trying to throw a fit or to misbehave. She had no idea I was watching her in the rearview mirror while we were driving and talking. It was simply a pure and natural reaction to me telling her that before she could watch Sofia the First, she had to wash her hands when we arrived home. I can see how that would be frustrating. I loved how in that split second, my little person exhibited grown-up feelings.
These days, if we’re not telling fantastical mermaid stories, living out Frozen fantasies, or discussing what constitutes a bad word, our conversations mostly revolve around feelings: how we’re feeling, why we’re feeling a certain way, and ways we can make our bad feelings feel better. My goal is that she will grow accustomed to expressing herself and that she will have the confidence to communicate both positive and negative emotions, without feeling afraid and inhibited.
I believe that it is vital for every girl and woman to find her voice. So many of us are trained by our environment to silence ourselves or to fear speaking up for ourselves. I want to raise a young woman who is comfortable in her own skin and in her own words. This is of course easier said than done.
I don’t always succeed at setting the right example for my little love. As a woman, treating yourself kindly and with compassion doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m trying to be the best model for her that I can, one day at a time.
When we exercise, we talk about how healthy and strong sweating makes us, and when we eat, we relish the fun tastes nourishing our bodies, minds and souls. I try to apologize if I’ve been snappy or cranky, and she’s started doing the same as well! If she can tell that I’m sad, I’ll admit that not everything is perfect in a grown-up’s world. I made the decision that I will not hide or be ashamed of my body. I will wear a swimsuit, always. Until she tells me not to. Probably with a roll of her eyes.
After we went swimming the other day, we were HUNGRY and wanted something filling and yummy. We love various kinds of burgers, and I came across this recipe for black-eyed pea barbecue burgers. They were so easy to make and delicious! My foodie ate two helpings of the fixings on the side, and then her patty and bun. I ate two burgers and loved every minute of it.