Lily loves clothes. Her style has no classification; sometimes bold, usually funky, hardly ever matching but always awesome. Her spirit shines through in almost everything she wears. She is bold, she is funky, she’s forever a contradiction and always awesome. Even when I’m ready to pull my hair out and lock her in her room, I’m acutely aware of her awesome. She is a force and I want her to be a force for the rest of her days.
And that’s why sometimes I’m brought to tears watching her on the playground.
She walked into my room this morning dressed for school in a pair of purple stretch pants, her black soccer shorts, a purple striped top, and her royal blue soccer jersey over top. All perfectly finished off with her fairy Halloween costume headband. It was perfectly Lily.
As we were getting ready to head out, she hugged me and said she wanted to change because she was pretty sure the kids at school would make fun of her. I told her that I didn’t think anyone would and that if they did say anything she could respond with ‘that’s not a nice thing to say. I like my outfit.’ I could tell from her face that she was still unsure so I told her that if she would be more comfortable she could run and change quickly. She did.
Lily returned with a dress and sweater, still topped with her fairy headband.
As I watched her walk through the schoolyard by herself this morning, I wanted to run and scoop her up in my arms. She stood in front of the swing set for a few moments staring at the kids already whooshing back and forth. She walked with her head held high, this little mash of plaid and gingham with her turquoise tulle flower sitting atop her head. I watched from the van, hoping that it was a true confidence that was keeping her head up and not the brave face of a little girl trying to look like she didn’t mind being alone while other children ran, playing around her. I know she has friends but I hurt for her, knowing that someone made fun of her, not necessarily maliciously, and Lily gave their words power.
Before she left for school, I kissed her cheek and told her that I loved her spirit and didn’t want her to change. With a confused look on her face she said ‘But I already did’. I smiled, hugging her tight with the hope that her humour and strength will carry her through childhood unscathed; sad that I can’t protect her from the moments, the words, that will inevitably make their mark upon the very core of who she is.