Oh the past. How it haunts.

So when I was little I had a boy haircut. My mom worked at a retirement home, and sometimes I'd go visit with her. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "What a cute little boy you have..." I'm really not sure how many times I heard it, but in my mind it's A LOT. I know I should consider the sources, and there may well have been people who would have said the same if I'd had my hair in pigtails. But I never wanted to have short hair again. As in, even as an adult. Every shorter haircut I've gotten I've sat in fear in that chair reciting in my head, "Please don't let me look like a boy..."

I've learned enough as a grownup to know that some people just don't pay attention. I took baby Ella places in head to toe pink, only to hear, "What a cute little boy you have..." Some people just don't look very hard. I rolled with it. Not like she's going to remember it from the baby carrier.

Ella used to have a girlie bob haircut, but it never laid quite right. She has these strange underlying curls. So we went a little shorter (she was thrilled!), and now the curls are free to curl. It's a super cute haircut. I let go of my own issues so she could have it shorter like she wanted.

This week I was taking Ella to school when her tone changed. "Mama? Yesterday we had a substitute teacher, and he thought I was a boy." I asked her what happened. Apparently the teacher was putting the kids in a boy/girl pattern. He put Ella next to a girl. Ella was too shy to say anything (any readers who know Ella will be deeply surprised at the idea of Ella ever being shy, but she is a different kid at school). And then one of the girls in her class told her she should grow her hair longer. "But Mama? I like my hair how it is."

Just rip my heart right out, why don't you? I didn't know where to start. She was embarrassed. I tried to explain that a mistake like that is not hers to be embarrassed about. She's usually so incredibly confident, that I somehow didn't envision dealing with things like this with her. And I certainly don't want to saddle her with my own issues.

Girls are such a challenge to begin with. Friends change on a daily basis. It only gets worse as they get older. I knew that part would be hard. But I somehow didn't expect the reliving of my own issues. And I didn't know how your children have so much of your heart, that their hurts really become your own.

So I tell her she's beautiful. That I love her haircut, and I'm glad she likes it. And I pray. So much. That God will somehow grant me the wisdom to raise these girls to have good self-esteem. That He will help me to keep my own issues and fears out of their lives. That they will know who made them. To know He takes great delight in them. That He knows their joy and their pain.


Tim Schmoyer said...

I was just happy when people stopped calling me by my mom's name when I answered the phone growing up. Yeesh.

Marylisa said...

Mmmmm. Ella would have long hair for a 1st grade boy in my book.

Why do you think I go to ECFE every week? Because I love the dialogue? No, I go because I don't want Daniel to be shy and scared because he didn't get to play with other kids.

You are right on the money this post, my sister.

Oludascribe said...

As a prepubescent when i picked up the phone ,people thought it was my mom.As a teen, they thought it was my Dad.

I guess our kids will relive our lives/experiences in subtle and sometimes major ways, that's why we have to watch the life WE live while in our youth, seed time and harvest and all.