Today is an I Am A Woman sort of day. I guess I realized it when my daughter (9) and a girlfriend (15) started planning to get together for a visit. The friend lives an hour away so at least two parents (40-something and 50-something) are now involved in this adventure. I was all fine and ready to go for it until they decided on a location:
Now, if You Are A Woman, there’s a chance you might think this would be a fun outing. You’d be figuring out whatever women like you figure out when you’re getting ready for such an expedition. Me, I Am A (different sort of) Woman.
I hate to shop. I told my sons, back when sons were all I had (no daughter), that I’d rather have strep throat than go shopping, and I jolly well meant it. I’d had strep throat fairly recently before that remark was made, and I knew what kind of pain I was talking about. WAAAAY better than shopping.
So today when things headed south, so to speak, I was desolate. I tried to think of things, terrible things, that might be worse than shopping. Cleaning out a sewer. Nope. Mucking out a stall. Nope. Picking up trash on the roadside. Nope. My son (13) tried a few suggestions having to do with personal injury or danger. Nope. I really couldn’t think of anything I could do voluntarily that I would like less than shopping.
And my daughter wants to go meet a friend at A. Mall.
Of course I had to get inside my head and fix it. What could I do at this mall that would be worthwhile? I’m usually more into being than doing, but at a mall I need a purpose. Well, there’s the wedding to shop for. I still need shoes. I checked the mall directory. Yeah, they have shoe stores. Great. I mean, Oh, yes! They have shoe stores! Fantastic! And they have some reasonably priced dress stores so we can look at dresses for my daughter as well! This is going to work after all.
The greatest help, though, came from someone else Who Is A Woman, and a fabulous one – the bride at the pending wedding, my future daughter-in-law. I told her I was having an emotional crisis. She knows about me and shopping. She got me talking about the dress for my daughter and gave me some confidence that I actually, truly could find and purchase a reasonable dress for a reasonable price at A. Mall. She’s great at talking me off ledges – but that’s not all.
Not only did she calm me down, but an hour later she was shopping and she called me. She’d found a dress that might work for my daughter for the wedding or rehearsal. Could she buy it, at least on trial? I want to mention here that this young woman has been with me when I’ve purchased several important dresses, and she always finds the best prices and the most beautiful dresses I’ve ever worn. Yes, if you must know, she even found the dress I’m wearing in the wedding – otherwise I’d be looking for shoes and a dress for me at A. Mall.
I got through that crisis, then, and a short time later I went to an awards banquet for my middle school son (the 13). I enjoyed putting on clothes that made me feel pretty. I liked how I looked in the mirror. I was confident and poised when I went out of the house and I still had it together when I went into the meeting. I Am A Woman, I thought, and a darn good one, and I like being here with other people.
I haven’t always felt this way, you know. Until two years ago, I was rarely confident, poised, or pretty. I hid my talents, my body, my personality. I was shy and embarrassed and afraid of exposure. Thanks to divine intervention in a big way, all that has changed, and today was a day when I could celebrate being Me, upper case.
Then I saw me, lower case. She was a middle school Girl Almost Woman. She had gorgeous, long, thick, curly hair; gracefully curved eyebrows; a full, feminine figure. And she was up in front to receive her award and her eyes didn’t know where to look and her face was placid but far from calm. She looked ready to dart from her place as soon as someone would open the cage of public attention and show her a back way out. But she stayed, lovely and graceful in her printed dress and wedge sandals. She stayed and she waited it out and she lasted without a single wayward oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that. She was serene in her victory – at least I considered her so.
I Am A Woman, I thought, and so is she. A young one she is, but a darn good one, and I want to be sure she knows so. I went out of my way as I left so I could lean over, give her a hug, and tell her how beautiful and elegant she looked this evening. She smiled and thanked me.
I hope she hears words like mine often. If she doesn’t, I hope my words will take root in her heart and give her strength and confidence as she faces a world that may or may not appreciate her, may or may not understand her, may or may not call her beautiful.
It’s a funny thing about women. We need to know we’re beautiful to be strong. We need to spend time with friends who like being with us. We need to shop for shoes and special clothes at A. Mall. We need to hear encouragement from friends. We need to know someone believes in us. We’re beautiful, all of us, because God made us so, but we forget that truth much too easily.
Just now, in this moment, I am strong. I am beautiful. I Am A Woman, and I am glad.
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This was fun! I wrote today for a new weekly challenge: Just Write - The Extraordinary Ordinary. As the title indicates, this one encourages folks to write - just write - and share. I don't know if I'll be able to do this one weekly, but I'm glad to have done it once.