The girls and I spent the morning wandering around a few clothing stores. I was looking quite specifically for dress shoes for them that meet my strict guidelines: Chunky, fun, feminine, Mary-Jane style.
(Incidentally, this is becoming harder and harder for me to find in their size.)
And they were specifically looking for anything sparkly, flouncy, or lacy.
As we snaked our way through the store, me in the lead and they following closely behind me, I heard a chorus of, "Ooooh. That's my favoritest one ever, Mommy." And the occasional, "All I want is that. It's perfect forever."
Intent on my own purpose in the store, I'd give the items in a question a cursory glance and a courtesy, "Uh-huh. Yep, that's lovely," before moving our little train forward. But our progress grew slower and slower until we came to a complete standstill in front of a rack of very gaudy and slightly inappropriate, but incredibly sparkly, dresses.
They were the sort of dresses that are impeccable in their ability to be completely impractical for a child. Sure they've got the aesthetics, but they cannot rate anywhere near "Comfortable" with all the tulle and silk under layers and scratchy outer layers. And it seemed that all the extra material that bedecked the lower half of the dress was surely taken from the top half, which seemed shockingly bare and incomplete.
But 4 blue eyes had been turned, and 2 rapt attentions captured nonetheless.
We stood before that rack of impropriety, our eyes taking in the sight before us. I imagine that despite our shared gape-mouthed looks, the thoughts swirling in our individual heads were quite different. The girls looked upon the confections before them thinking of the twirling and shining joy they'd have in such apparel. Meanwhile inside my Mom-Head, my thoughts focused on how scanty the tops of the dresses were, how revealing such a thing would be on my two little girls, (on ANY little girl), and how sad it is that our society is trying to tell us that's okay.
(It isn't, actually, but thanks, Society.)
The girls turned to look at me, waiting for my reaction. My decision. Yes or no?
I smiled and agreed they were very sparkly dresses. But not dresses we needed to buy today.
They countered my counter.
I smiled and began walking away.
A few steps behind me, I heard two heavy sighs. I peeked back to see two pairs of slumped shoulders sluggishly following my lead. Slowing down so I could wait for them to catch up to me, I put my arms around each one of them, drawing them in for a hug.
My little girls.
No matter what our culture has to say about that, it's the truth.
Their bellies do not need to show.
Their pants labels do not need to read "Low Rise".
And there really doesn't need to be any writing across the seats of their pants.
They'll grow up faster than I'd like them to all on their own. It's going to happen; chronologically, it's a certainty. But right now, in this moment, they are still children. And I'm going to keep them that way as long as I can.