This week my daughter was being honored at a special event and needed a new shirt to wear. The pride and joy I felt in her accomplishments helped to balance out the welling anxiety and frustration shopping often triggers in me. Many frustrations and bitter memories rooted in the clothes I wore at her age have left me more than a little traumatized. So maybe it was her rumbling excitement or maybe it was the growth I’ve experienced within myself over the last few years, but this trip felt different.
My daughter browsed the racks of clothes with delight at the opportunity to express to the world the person she really is. It was as if we were standing in a field of flowers searching for just the right combination of blossoms. Each characteristic was weighed carefully against her well-assessed evaluation of her own personality. Peace signs but not hearts, green but not pink, eagles but not butterflies. I watched with a growing awareness of myself as an alien attempting to raise a human child. But in her presence I sensed a turning within. Things I rejected so deeply within me… on her seemed so… right. My daughter was asking more from that shirt than warmth and modesty. She was quietly and confidently requesting respect. In choosing it she made an uncompromising offering to the world of her God-imaged individuality and I found it all … somehow … Beautiful!