Today I got to spend some time with someone truly wonderful, who I just adore. She is warm, and caring, and although she talks a lot, she is always fantastic company.
It was my little girl Bridie.
This afternoon boatman was taking the new boat out for a spin, and he planned to take Bailey and Taylah with him. Bailey is just like his dad, and 100% fishing mad, and Taylah doesn’t like to miss out on anything, so it is quite common for Bridie, Ava and I to be at home, whilst the other three explore the great blue yonder.
Every time this happen, Bridie seizes the opportunity for what it is worth, and begs me to do something special with just her. (Even though Ava is with us, for some reason it doesn’t count. Probably because she is still young enough to be cute, and hasn’t yet reached annoying.)
Usually, we go shopping. That girl is a girl after my own heart, and she has the MIL’s love of shoes and all things pretty. Her first choice every time, would be to go shopping and buy pretty things. (She is going to have to marry a rich man, I can assure you.) But obviously going shopping is not always feasible, and to be honest, it’s not something I feel I should be doing with her every time. So today, when she asked if we could do something special, I was faced with a dilemma. Take her shopping, which could be expensive, and stressful, and encouraging a bad habit, or stay home and play, but have her disappointed that we didn’t capitalise on the opportunity. (She was also upset today because Taylah was going to a birthday party, and she wasn’t invited. When you’re five, that is pretty much the end of the world!)
Anyway, Tim mentioned that they wanted to see how the boat ran at night, (test the lights, that kind of thing), so they would have dinner out there, and be home at around eight. Well cooking dinner for three of us, when two barely eat at all, seemed kind of pointless, and Bridie’s second most favourite thing at all, is going to a restaurant. (Like I said, she is going to need to marry a rich man. Serial.) So I asked Boatman if he minded if we went out for dinner. Knowing how this would fill her love tank, he happily agreed.
So the afternoon came, Tim, Taylah and B2 went fishing, and B1 woke up from her nap. Immediately she thought we would be going out, and was then completely devastated that Ava was still asleep, and shopping would not commence straight away. So I gave her good news.
‘Guess what?! Tonight, for dinner mummy is going to take you to a restaurant! Just you, me and Ava, and we are going to get all dressed up, and it’s going to be so much fun!’
‘Can I pick where we are going?’
‘Yes, maybe.’ (I had to be careful so she didn’t pick somewhere really expensive, but I was banking on her saying Hogs Breath.)
‘Can we go to Hogs Breath?’ (Yep. Got it!)
When it came time to get ready, she was so excited. We had showers, put on pretty dresses (yes even me!), and makeup. I let her wear some of my perfume, and a tiny bit of eyeshadow, which she immediately wiped off. It was great, girly fun, and such great quality time.
And then the sky fell in.
Cause that beautiful, little girl, who is stunning both inside and out, looked into the mirror, and said, ‘I just don’t look pretty.’ And the look on her face, I knew she believed it.
It’s the kind of comment you might expect from an angst ridden teenager, not a little girl who is told on a daily basis that she is beautiful. Where did it some from? What would make her think that? What messages have I, through my own self image issues, sent her?
A week or so back, I asked her to wear a particular outfit and was met with refusal amd tears. And Bridie is no slacker when it comes to tantrum throwing; if it was an Olympic event, she would take out the gold. She screamed, and cried, and sat on her bed, and carried on like it was the absolute end of the world. When she finally calmed down enough to speak to me, I realised what the problem was. She didn’t think she would look pretty in those clothes.
‘Sweetheart, look at me,’ I said. And she raised those beautiful blue/green/hazel colored eyes, and looked at mine. ‘You are beautiful. You are always beautiful. You don’t need clothes to make you look pretty, because you are already as gorgeous as you can get. But darling, it’s not all about how you look on the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts. Your heart is where your beauty comes from, and when you are good, and when you are kind, and when you honour mummy by doing what I ask you, then you are truly beautiful.’ She nodded her head, put her clothes on, and that was the end of it.
But nothing of great value is built in a day. This is a lesson that is going to need to be taught again, and again over the years. That not only is the out side of her perfectly, and wonderfully made, but that the inside is the part that really counts.
To be continued….