Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Strong girls

 I know it's sappy, but this video means so much more to me than just sharing something that I love with my kids. This girl is already so strong, physically and mentally, and the pride she feels when she does something hard, something adults are struggling with, gives me so much joy. It feels like for all the times I screw up this parenting thing, sometimes it works out too.

Like most women my age, my upbringing was riddled by small, benign comments that colored my relationship with food and my body. It's the benign part that makes me so nervous about raising two girls who will definitely be sturdy but likely will never be described as lithe or willowy. It's just so easy to misstep. My dad sent me off to a birthday party when I was in third grade with an off-handed comment to not eat too much cake so I wouldn't get fat. The class mom then brought me a fruit platter to every class party for the next three years. I think she thought that I was diabetic maybe? I remember being eleven and having a well-intentioned teacher point out my hips during a talk on development. What if I hadn't incorporated that message as "you have something that makes you different" and instead had been told "you have really strong muscles"? What if I had known food as fuel instead of as a necessary evil to be constantly monitored and managed? What if strength and health and ability were the focus, instead of size and comparability? What if, instead of trying to achieve the literally unachievable, we focused on what makes us awesome? 

I hope that giving her this, which admittedly she may decide to hate two weeks from now, will help to temper all those missteps that I've likely already made. I hope that she continues to be frustrated that there aren't weights on her bar (literally or figuratively) and know that she controls her progress. I hope she gets comfortable acknowledging both her strengths and areas that she's not strong in, so that she feels confident in asking for help. I hope when she looks in the mirror, she sees the same strong, capable girl that I see watching this video. 

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