I admire my daughter. She’s only seven and in 2nd grade, but the confidence she exuberates is unlike anything I remember having when I was her age. This week at the boys’ football game, she and a group of kids were playing in the open field next to the bleachers. This one little boy kept saying over and over that he could run faster than everyone else. Taylor never said anything to counter his claim, instead she just shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
During half time they finally decided to race, four boys and two girls. Taylor beat all of them. And she didn’t just beat them, she smoked them as her brothers would say. As they came back up the bleachers, the little boy-who was doing all the trash talking- walked away angry saying, “I’m not gonna play with you anymore!” Taylor with an expression of shock replied, “It’s not my fault, you’re slow!” I laughed so damn hard, that even as I type, I’m still giggling.
I don’t know what I admired most about her at that moment. The fact that she didn’t bother rebutting his initial claim, that she won and was so humble about it, or how quick her comeback was. She shrugged her shoulders at all of them and was off in the field again turning cartwheels.
When I was seven, I was a people pleaser. I remember vividly being in Mrs. Davis class, raising my hand to answer all the questions, then on the playground my classmates calling me a teacher’s pet, saying I was sucking up to the teacher. Unlike Taylor who probably would have told them, ‘it’s not my fault, yall are dumb,’ I just stopped answering questions all together. It wasn’t until high school that I decided I was going to stop dumbing myself down for others just to fit in.
Taylor is nothing like that. She will not dumb herself down for anyone! She wants everyone to know she is, what she likes, what she doesn’t like and she doesn’t shy away from that. And if you choose to be her friend, great, but if not, she doesn’t care, she’s happy with herself.
Last year, I asked her almost daily who she played with during recess because I wanted to make sure felt included. Then one day, she blurted out, “Why do you keep asking me that? Mommy I play with myself!” I felt heartbroken thinking the other girls were leaving her out of their little clique. But then she explained they always want to play tea party or house and she doesn’t, she likes to swing and play on the slides. So my daily anxiety was pointless, she was choosing to play by herself. While it was a relief to know she was having fun, it honestly made me see my weakness and the stereotypes that mothers can place on their daughters.
We all want our daughters to grow up and be confident, but sometimes we expect them to behave a certain way or like certain things, just because they’re a girl. Unlike other 2nd grade girls I’ve met, Taylor prefers race cars over dolls, she hates hair bows, she will only wear a skirt if she has leggings underneath it so it doesn’t interfere with her playground fun, and she doesn’t enjoy baking or helping me cook. Not to mention, she never cries, she’s not easily influenced, she’s less sensitive to other’s feelings and she’s very direct….the stereotypes of boys. The only girly thing Taylor enjoys is painting her nails in exotic colors!
I realize she also grows up in a house full of boys so that’s all she knows to be, but as a Mom of a daughter, I’m learning to encourage Taylor to be who she wants to be. It’s funny because a few of her friends are cheerleaders, and when I asked if she wanted to be one, she gave me this look like I insulted her, LOL!
Taylor is truly my Princess Tomboy! When I think about it, she’s a perfection combination of all her brothers. She has Cameron’s humor, Kahlil’s passion for helping others, Isaiah’s intelligence and AJ’s meekness. Which at the end of the day, are all the qualities you hope your child has.
Society has a way of pulling girls in so many different directions, trying to shape them into roles that oftentimes they don’t really want for themselves. I’ve been guilty of trying to shape Taylor into that mode too, but with her already confident attitude of self-awareness, I’ve since been making sure she stays true to herself.
Proverbs 31:25- She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.