Thursday, November 5, 2015

Who she will be is up to me

Last week Friday Aspen's School had a fun day. Earlier in the week we were sent a letter to enter her into the Modelling competition, which I thought was the perfect opportunity to do some girly things with my only daughter. So We practiced for the Competition, got her white dress ready and planned how we would be styling her hair too. We prepared for everything other than her NOT winning the competition. I never put any pressure on her to win, and I was certainly not going to go as far as makeup etc to enhance anything on my 5 year olds face. All I wanted her to do was have fun and help her be a little more confident in public.

My well intentions back-fired.  I guess it was to be expected. I never gave the competition really any thought for a few reasons. Firstly, I think Aspen is the most beautiful and amazing little girl, I don't need a stranger to tell me that. Secondly, both of us being a little Tom-Boyish, I did not think that the competition would be such a big deal. I mean, I have always preferred pants and Aspen can be just as much a boy as her brothers when the need arose. Lastly, we spoke about it, but she never really indicated that it was something she was very excited to do.

I rushed home from work on Friday in order to do her hair, but when I got there she had already had my helper walk her to school. When I eventually found them, her hair was pulled back as it is everyday, and because we were out of time, she would have to go out with it like that. I coached her to smile and have fun before I went and took a few pictures. For my most talkative and lively child, she was shy when she walked on the stage, hardly smiled but tried very hard to concentrate on not falling off the stage. I am biased, so of course she was the prettiest girl there and I loved her innocent look.

After watching the girls parade for a few minutes, the judges announced the winner. Her expression changed almost instantly. A look of utter disappointment came over her face, and I knew in that moment that I had prepare either of us for this part. This was the most important part. I walked to the back to fetch her after the show and she broke down into a ball of tears. She could not even really talk. I felt so bad for her. She is only 5 and of course she believed that she was going to win. After all, we teach our kids that they are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. So why would she believe any different. My heart broke for my disappointed little girl. I tried to encourage her, reassuring her that she is amazing and beautiful and that the competition had nothing to do with how incredible she was. She still cried.

The only thing left to try, was bribery. Mommy and Daddy had to take her out for Ice-Cream because she did such a great job. Don't judge me, I would do anything to make any of my babies feel better.

I did however realise that Aspen is my only daughter and the one most likely to be affected by peoples opinions and thoughts on her looks and ways etc. I knew this in the back of my mind but only now do I realise how much I should be closer I should be focusing on it. Her Dad and I are the two people who have the greatest effect on her self esteem, and although she is very confident at home, she gets very shy around strangers. We have enough resources to make sure that my little girl turns into a confident and self accepting young woman. We need to be grooming her to walk into a room with her issues at her feet, her future on her lips and with dreams that change the world.

The competition was a small thing in the life of a lot of the people at the school on Friday, but it really taught me to look more closely at who I am raising, why I am raising them, and what my responsibilities are in raising them.


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