As I applied my eyeliner one morning Zuri said to me, “Mom, why are you trying to be all fancy? You don’t need to be that fancy. All we’re doing is going to the store.”
Both Zuri and Berlynn have been very hard on me lately whenever I have gotten myself dressed in more than my usual gray sweatpants and a slightly different shade of gray sweatshirt. Maybe it was because it was so rare now that I hardly showered any more since Thea was born or maybe they were at a new stage where they just noticed these things more. I wasn’t sure. They would say the same diminishing words to each other as well when one would dress up for school.
Usually I would get a little defensive in a joking manner and say things like “because I want to” or “what’s it to you anyways?” And just shrug it off. I don’t know what it was, but this morning I had had enough of it.
I responded back to Zuri with, “Don’t you know the secret?”.
“What secret?” She asked.
I hadn’t thought of anything yet and I’m normally terrible at coming up with things on the spot but I was determined to pull them out of this groove of belittling me or each other for dressing up and trying to look nice.
“It’s the secret that all girls know. Would you like to hear it?” Her face lit up. “Ok, go get your sister and I’ll tell you both.” This bought me a few more minutes to try to think up something!
They both walked in my room as I still scrambled to come up with a plan. I always struggle with saying the right thing at the right time and normally just ramble during the most pivotal parenting moments but somehow, in this moment, I actually said a few things that made sense and struck a chord with them.
“The secret that every girl knows is,” they were both staring at me wide-eyed and eager, “we always, ALWAYS, make each other feel special no matter what we decide to wear or how we look. And if we see another girl putting on make-up or picking out her clothes, we always encourage and compliment. No matter how WE look or feel, we never make another girl feel bad for trying to look nice.” They looked bewildered. “That’s the secret. It’s a secret because only girls know about this. No boys.”
“So, does Grandma know the secret?” Berlynn asked. “And Auntie Lara?” Zuri piped in.
“Yep, Grandma is the one that taught me and you’ll get to tell your little girl someday.” Both girls grinned.
“But we can’t tell Thomas and daddy, right mom?”
The other day after school Berlynn said to me, “Mom, Summer was making fun of Lily’s pigtails today. She didn’t know the secret.”
Me: “Well, did you tell it to her?”
Zuri: “Shhhh, don’t talk about it in front of Thomas!”