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So many times since Harlow was born have I felt that she was in my "favorite phase" but right now is certainly a contender for the best of the best. She's almost 27 months (so a little over two) and I'm beginning to get to know who SHE is. Not the things about her that are like Mike or me. (And I'd be driving a Ferrari if I had a dollar for every time someone told me she looks just like Mike!) Not the things we're teaching her, or that she picks up in school or in books. I'm seeing more of her personality, what makes her happy, how she ticks. I am soaking up every second of it up!
Her favorite thing and phrase right now is "pretty dress". She likes to wear them, picking out what to wear to school (if it's not below freezing outside or snowy like today) and what to dress-up in at home. She loves going shopping with me, picking out dresses and helping me try them on. And she loves seeing other women wearing dresses. She will stop on a dime to tell us about a pretty dress she just saw walk by. They can be long, floral, and flowy. They can be short little corduroy jumpers, tulle ball gowns, or a basic t-shirt dress. She loves them all. And I love that she loves them all.
The magnetism of beautiful things renders Harlow and I helpless. Harlow 100% gets it from me. When I was little I just about fainted over the beauty of a purple sequin handbag (hey, it was the '80s). I just sit here and smile when Harlow gets run over with love for a pretty dress, or stops in her tracks to watch the dance of a prima ballerina, or asks me to rewind an operatic lullaby five times straight. She adores the elaborate costume ball scene that opens Beauty and the Beast. The high notes in the Frozen soundtracks? She's belting them out. She's mesmerized by the arts, and I'm already brimming with excitement to take her to her first theatrical play, dance recital, museum, and to travel to the great cities of the world.
Her eyes are most definitely drawn to the beauty she sees in the world. As much as I share in her love for beautiful objects and performance art, I want her to notice beautiful actions, beautiful people. Not Angelina Jolie outwardly beautiful per se, but beautiful in how they make a difference in the world (which Angelina Jolie certainly does, too, so maybe I do want her to know Angie haha).
Kids are like spongey peg boards, absorbing the energy surrounding them, taking what they see and hear to fill in the gaps in their psyches. They learn just as much by observation as they do via traditional or even modern learning methods. I want to set a good example for her by the actions she sees me taking which, for the record, are not things I do just for Harlow's benefit but things I've tried to do consistently all my life. Things my parents taught me by example. Holding the door for someone behind you. Saying 'please' and 'thank you' to anyone who helps you out. Having awareness for those around you - no breaking in line, no rude driving. Smiling and saying 'hello' to a passerby. Returning shopping carts to cart corrals. Things you don't get a gold sticker for doing, things that don't define you as a good or bad person if you do or don't do them. They're just considerate, kind things that keep our society happily humming along.
As the mother to my daughter, I feel a certain degree of pressure to be sure my life is lived in a way that she'll be proud of as she gets older. I want to make something of myself as a careerist, working really hard to build this business even though it's like my second job to my primary career as a stay at home mom. Last week we celebrated International Women's Day and for me, it was a great time to stop and survey the landscape of incredible women I've come to know personally and those I admire through the lens of social media. (Hey, we all have our Instagram girl crushes, don't we?)
The beautiful thing about women is that there is no one way to be a woman. How you dress, how you do your makeup or hair, how athletic you are, how muscular or lithe your physique is. If you're a mom or not. If you're a working mom or if you stay at home. I love fashion and football. I love seeing little girls play a soccer game wearing a tutu over their jersey with mud splattered on their face. I seriously dislike the polarizing notion that being girly is weak, or that being a tomboy is mannish. We can be all things, anything, and that's the point of celebrating women isn't it?
Just a few short days after International Women's Day, I had the privilege of participating in Nest Boutique's Fashion for Good event, showcasing the beautiful skirts from Francis + Benedict made by Togolese seamstresses. I learned about these women in Togo, working to support their families in a country where there is one doctor per every 1,000 people, and the primary form of medicine is voodoo.
I met the MOST amazing women at the event! Women who live here in Asheville making huge differences in our community, and who've built businesses that help women far and wide. They're strong in their faith and conviction that what they're doing is their calling. That the going is tough but it is so worth it. I felt so overwhelmed with joy to meet such sources of light in the world.
Sometimes it's hard to articulate what something or somebody means to you. How they impact your soul, how much space they occupy in your heart. And sometimes you find the word that just sums up everything you mean to say about a thing, an action, a person.