Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dripping with Little Girls

(This was originally published by Your Tango on September 1, 2016.)

Sometimes, I feel like Miss Hannigan from the movie Annie.

Tripping over toys in my nightie with glass of wine in hand. Some women are dripping with diamonds and pearls. But me? I'm dripping with little girls. Everywhere I turn, I can see them. Night and day, I eat, sleep, and breathe them.

They say catastrophes come in threes, but my little angels are the perfect trifecta.

Or holy terrors. Depends on the day. Sometimes I'm living on Easy Street, but other times, it's the hard-knock life. I'm hanging on by my fingernails wishing Punjab would come and save me. Just like Miss Hannigan crows, "I'd have cracked years ago if it weren't for my sense of humor."

Don't get me wrong-- I love little girls. I used to be one.

Now, I'm dripping with three of my own: ages 2, 5, and 7. Someday, I may land in the nuthouse with all the nuts and the squirrels. But for now, here are a few pearls for raising little girls:

They Are Not You. So don't expect them to be.

My oldest daughter is nothing like me. And thank God for that. She has blonde ringlets like Goldilocks, but she's as rough and tumble as they come. And frankly, I'm not sure I'd win if we got into a wrestling match. That girl is as tough as nails. She's not afraid to play with boys twice her age on the playground. And within twenty minutes, she's calling the shots and has all of them following her lead. Sometimes it's The Clash of the Titans between us, but secretly, I wish I could be more like her. She approaches life boldly and bravely, staring down fear with the wind in her face and a song in her heart. I wish I could be more like that.

They Are Not Each Other. So don't compare them.

My middle daughter loves all things pink and sparkly. She loves make-up, high heels, and cheerleading. She is sugar and spice and everything nice. She's timid and fragile and delicate. A crystal glass in a china cabinet. But femininity takes on many forms and one is not better than the others. All little girls are fearfully and wonderfully made.

They are Not JUST Beautiful. So make sure they know that.

If you always tell them how beautiful they are, they may start believing that's all they have to offer. Tell them how smart, strong, and capable they are first. Then tell them they're beautiful.

They are Built-in Best Friends. So they have a bond like no other.

I, myself, am the youngest of three sisters, and through the years we've shared everything from hand-me-downs to butter cream icing recipes to our deepest, darkest secrets. Like the inscription on the jewelry box my oldest sister gave me says, "Friends and boys come and go, but sisters are forever."

They are Your Die-Hard Fans. So they think you're amazing no matter what.

No matter what you're wearing. No matter what your hair looks like. Make-up or au naturale. They are always in your squad. They don't care about your stretch marks or what you look like in a bathing suit. My littlest is still in diapers, but her little eyes are always watching me. Be sure you are leading the way for those tiny feet to follow.

They are Your Future BFFs. So raise them right.

After you have finished mommying them, you will eventually borrow each other's clothes and shoes and make-up. They will help keep you young and you will help keep them grounded. What you teach them during these brief mommying years is crucial because you are literally raising your future besties for life.

So, each time I get annoyed after tripping over a toy, I remind myself what an awesome privilege it is to be their mother. Each time I fold their little bloomers or match their little socks or iron their little dresses, I smile at their unbelievable cuteness. And there is nothing better than hearing the giggles and prayers and lullabies as I tuck them into bed each night.

It's WAY better than diamonds and pearls.

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