You're perfect the way you are. Period.
I have a story for you. I've been trying to decide whether or not to share it but I think there is a good message and furthermore, I know my children know they are loved. So, here it goes...
Before school got out, I volunteered one morning to assist with Field Day. It was two hours of my time so I thought I would just make it a work-from-home day. I love my daughters' school. They are excellent communicators and all around nice humans. I knew it would mean so much to them so I plunged into a 97 degree day armed with an ice coffee and my biggest pair of sunglasses!
I was managing the racket relay which consisted of kids balancing balls on a tennis racket from one cone to the next. It is trickier than it sounds but the kids were great sports. First up was Lola's class. After copious hugging, she participated while dancing in between with her buddies. <they had a DJ for the whole field playing the latest pop songs.> Shortly after was Olivia's class. They bounced right up and the same hugging ensued. Liv likes to hang on a little longer but it's cute because I know she is genuinely excited.
Fast forward to about five minutes later when I hear shouting from the lines they had formed. Liv had her hands on her hips and was yelling, "Stop it! No, I'm not. Be quiet!" My gut instinct was to run over but instead I paused because I saw her teacher standing five feet away and I know I had to let her handle no matter how badly I was curious to ask all the questions. Shortly after, I saw her teacher gently guide two little girls over privately and speak firmly to them. They looked scared and remorseful. Next up was Olivia. I saw the teacher hug her and rub her back. Soon after the two little girls were speaking to Olivia in what could only be an apology and off they went to continue the games.
After some time, I meandered over and gave Liv a hug before she moved on to the next game. I could only ask her what just went down and she revealed that her classmates, one of which I have hosted in my home several times, were calling her chubby. My fists clenched but instead I scoffed it off and told her how ridiculous it was because she was perfect just the way she was and that what they did was not okay. Not even in the slightest manner. She seemed okay.
But was she?
I'll tell ya something, as a parent, I was pissed. Was this shit starting this early? I had struggled and continue to struggle with body issues my entire life. Years of bad eating habits or starving myself to get a better role in the Nutcracker led only to a really wack view of what beauty is and should look like and I was for damn sure that my girls wouldn't grow up feeling like they weren't enough. No matter what.
So how did I handle it?
Olivia came home from school that day and I asked to speak to her privately in my office. I asked if she was okay and she looked at me like I had three heads. "Yeah mom, why?" When I explained how inexplicably wrong it was for her friends to treat her like that she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yeah, it's no big deal...I forgive them. They've done it before." To which I emphatically, responded, "NO, No it is not okay! You are perfect the way you are. Period. You are wicked smart, funny, kind, empathetic, downright stunning and you are loved. DO NOT let anyone make you EVER feel otherwise."
And then I realized that I was getting that crazy look in my eyes and I might scare her. I mean, what in the actual f*ck of f*cks has this world come to where seven year old girls are bullying each other on weight? And that, my friends, is a sign that something needs to change, pronto. We hugged and she skipped out of my office for an after school snack.
So that's the story but is it the end? No, it's not. There is not a day that goes by that I do not publicly and privately tell her how amazing she is, how beautiful she is and how much I love her because you have to shut that shit right down. And then something really cool happened this summer during the first week of musical theater camp auditions.
Olivia won the lead part of Cinderella in the summer production and the slow satisfaction of sweet success spread across my face into the biggest smile as I looked at my beaming daughter who is indeed...perfect just the way she is. Now, she knows it, too!
Mommas: we have to be vigilant because this is a real thing and it starts early. I feel lucky that Olivia brushed it off but she has asked me in private while we were getting ready if she was "fat" and it just makes my heart sink. Each day is a new day to instill confidence and lift up our kids. It only takes a second, even if you are running late. The world can wait!
Check out today's link ups: Pink Sole, Musings of a Housewife, More Pieces of Me, Watch Out for the Woetsmans Fizz and Frosting, Style Elixir, I Do deClaire, The Mummy Chronicles, The Pleated Poppy, Tucker Up, Get Your Pretty On, Shopping My Closet Sincerely Jenna Marie, Living in Color!