We must teach our daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.
To me, one of the best parts of motherhood is when one of my children reveals a part of themselves, that I never knew was there. I know I am not alone. (Really, do any of us, when our children come into the world, ever realize just how many petals will emerge from that newborn bud that seems so fragile and helpless?)
Ever since our daughter graduated from college in December, watching her has been a bit like standing outside of life’s dressing room while she tries on her options. I can’t quite see her outright, because she is behind the changing room door, but I can hear her banging around in there, and every once in a while she emerges with an option and asks me ‘What do you think of this one?’ …but before I can even answer her, she has spun around and is back in the dressing room, trying on something else.
She is behaving as she would if my metaphor was literal and we were at Macy’s and she was trying on a skimpy bathing suit…. She doesn’t really want my flimsy opinion- she just needs to give me a glimpse …. to be sure I don’t outright object. Her method takes advantage of her knowing that her momma does her level best to embody a ‘live and let live’ life creed. She is aware that there is not much that would make me scream a definitive ‘NO” in her direction… so this technique of testing out her options in front of me, while never really wanting my opinion, and instead just wanting to make sure I don’t hate the idea, is a well worn path for both of us. (She actually has a ‘tone of voice’ that happens when she uses this method… usually she will call on the phone and all she has to say is one word. The word is ‘Mom’ but she says it with a slight lilt at the end.It’s that lilt that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up- because I know it means a freight train of an idea from her, is coming my way fast….. and she is pretending to ask me a question, but in reality she has already made her decision- she just needs to make sure I am not going to scream, ‘NO’ at her. Yes, I know, it is a funny little mother daughter dance …but it is one that is all our own….
Over the last 6 months , the elephant that has been in that symbolic dressing room with her, has been higher education. She has applied to grad school, been accepted to grad school, enrolled in grad school, and finally come to me in tears and said with a shaky voice and as much fear as I think I have ever seen her little body hold, announce, “I don’t want to go to grad school….’
You could have heard a pin drop after the sentence tumbled out of her mouth. I was stunned into silence not so much by what she had said, but by the way she had said it. From the look on her face and her tone of voice, you would have thought she had just told me where she had buried the body. She was that tortured. My response was pretty anti-climactic. ‘If you don’t want to go to grad school, you definitely should not go to grad school.’ I wasted no time at all reminding her that all that I want for her, is her happiness…and whatever form it comes in I will gladly accept.
The reason for her shift in plans was simple. She had decided to follow her heart rather than her head. (Instead of going to grad school and having to endure a long distance relationship with her very awesome long time boyfriend (who had just accepted a phenomenal job offer in another state) she had decided to move away with him. Her plan was to establish herself in this new locale, and then pursue grad school there- if and when she wanted.
Since that day, which was about a month ago, that metaphorical dressing room has quieted down a lot. Yes, she is back in the changing room, but there has been no more banging…no more life options flying above the door like she is juggling…. And she has been a happier more peaceful human being.
But then… last week, she emerged from behind the door and stood eye to eye in front of me…. And with that lilt in her voice said, ‘Mom…. what do you think of this?’ This time she did not dart back into the dressing room… she stayed put and when I saw what she had created here… I was totally blown away.
Behind the closed doors of that metaphorical dressing room, my baby girl, sans her glass slipper, has been busy creating a stunning lifestyle blog. The content is all hers- she has created the concept, done the photography herself, and left her own distinct style print all over it.And she did not wade into the water- she cannon balled onto the world wide web and landed with a splash for whoever wants to look. Without much emotion she explained to me that she knew there would be some haters out there that would say she has no business sharing her thoughts about fashion, and beauty, and lifestyles…. but by her estimation, the haters don’t matter. What matters to her is that being creative, feeling inspired, and sharing her thoughts makes her feel happy…. and of course, I am cheering her on 100%… because happy is all I ever want her to be.
Her fearlessness is so impressive to me- truly, just AWESOME!!! I have always admired the fact that she puts herself out there and honestly does not give a rip what anyone else thinks. She did not get this trait from me. Nope, Nada, Uh-Uh, No! Whoever her role model is, it’s not me. I spent the first 40 years of my life wading cautiously into the public eye- and now I am almost 50 and I have yet to cannon ball boldly, or quickly, into anything. ( I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and re-read the next day’s blog offering. I just have to look at it one more time before it goes out in the morning. Why? Just to make sure…. because what if I wrote something that I didn’t mean to write? Or what if I was insensitive, or offensive, or stupid??? Yep, I wade around in those kinds of shallow, mucky, uncertain waters all the time I hate to admit.
So hats off to my daughter….Yep, the glass slipperless one who is NOT going to graduate school 🙂
I could not be more proud of her- blog or no blog. I am so glad she kicked off the glass slipper of grad school… and is skipping bare footed toward something that makes her happy today.
Glass ceilings of the world- beware!
Find her here: www.thestyledseed.com and follow her at The Styled Seed on Instagram