I was sitting at J’s dance class one day and overheard two fellow dance Moms talking. One of them said to the other… “I’m worried about my daughter…I mean she’s a little abnormal”. I looked up intrigued, but trying not to appear I was listening. “I mean she isn’t like regular 4 year olds…she’s so quiet. We went to our doctor and he thinks the next step is some medication or therapy”. “She just isn’t like other kids”.
I eventually got tired of listening to this conversation and stood up, biting my tongue. I looked in on the young dancers. My eyes caught a young girl who, while the other 5 girls were in blush pink or black leotards, was proudly dancing in a lime green tutu. I smiled. That girl was J, my fabulous and yes happy to report, abnormal daughter.
“Miss J” as she is often called is about as different from an average 4 year old as they come. Those of you who know my daughter just shook your head in agreement at that last comment, didn’t you? J is a self-proclaimed Diva and seriously is 4 going on 24. Inquisitive, dramatic, loving, loyal, stubborn, emotional, loud yet timid, too smart for her own good and proud enough to admit it. A true personality.
When the ultrasound tech first told me I was having a girl, I started to cry because I desperately wanted a little girl. As I wiped my tears of joy, the tech said “So, you better start buying PINK”. Little did I know I REALLY needed to heed her advice. J is the most girly of girls. Let me put it this way…you know in craft stores and tourist spots you see those fuzzy hot pink dice, furry boas, or signs that say “The Princess is In” or “Diva and loving it” in pink sequins and you wonder who they make that stuff for? Well, I now know.
My daughter is a notorious fashionista. I mean she calls trends faster than any fashion magazine. She believes that every outfit looks better with cool shoes or some hair accessory. I hate to admit it but this girl can out-dress and out-style her Mommy every day of the week. Events like birthday parties or holidays have more costume changes than a Cher concert. I may not save a lot for my retirement, but I am certainly doing my share to keep Gymboree, Matilda Jane, Old Navy, and Gap in the black.
Miss J loves music and art. She breaks out in song all over the house. She has an IPod which she fills with a wide variety of music ranging from the Beatles to Black Eyed Peas to Taylor Swift to The Wiggles. She recently has developed her first celebrity crush, getting a big case of Bieber Fever. She dances everywhere she goes and believes that a bad day can be made better merely by getting lost in the shoe department at Von Maur.
J loves to pretend. Even something as mundane as cooking dinner on a Tuesday night will be made fun by Miss J saying “Mommy, pretend we’re at a fancy restaurant and I’m Hello Kitty and you are Madame my waitress”. In the bathtub its “Mommy, pretend we’re at a salon and you’re giving me a pedicure”.
Someone once asked me if I was concerned about J’s Diva personality…as she truly believes that she is fabulous, she knows what she likes, and can sometimes act like we are all just living in her world. I laughed when I was asked that. Not only am I not afraid of her attitude, I love it. I don’t discourage it. As a woman she’ll need that gumption. She’s going to have enough years of low self-esteem that she should cherish these years of self-centeredness.
One night as I tucked J into bed she said to me, “Mommy, I want to be you when I grow up” as she pulled on her light pink earphones to listen to her lullaby play list. I smiled and hugged her close. Even though I doubt she heard me over her beloved Sarah McLachlan, I whispered “Please don’t be like me”. She may look like a brown haired exact replica of me from when I was a child…but the appearance, a handful of certain traits, and our love of Disney movies, are all we share in common. So far at the core, J is really nothing like me. Rather she’s the me I always wanted to be and still try to be. I doubt myself, care too much about what others think, over analyze things, worry too much, can (although I hate to admit it) be sometimes pessimistic, and I limited several of my life experiences because of fear. J isn’t like that. Sure she’s a notorious scaredy cat and can be very shy and reserved about certain things or around new people…but unlike me that wouldn’t do something if I was scared…she’ll do it, reservations and all.
So I’m blogging today to say what I wasn’t brave enough to say to that Dance Mom. So your child isn’t normal…mine isn’t either. But, I’m grateful every day for that and I pray she stays that way. Find the beauty in abnormality. Encourage your children to be who they are regardless of who society or the medical profession says they should be. Of all the goals I have as a Mom I think the one I strive the most to achieve is to let my children be who they are without imposing my desires, my dreams, my “wants” on them. Let them march, or in the case of the Fabulous Miss J, dance to the beat of their own drum. And instead of worrying about if they are dancing like everyone else…just dance along.