This happened yesterday.
I watched my beautiful girl try on a prom dress.
Of course I knew this day was coming.....I knew I would be in a change room with beautiful gowns and my daughter trying on dresses this year.
But like many things in this parenting journey I just didn't know it was going to happen yesterday.
And despite desperately holding on to my outward composure my inner Mom was yelling "HOW did THIS happen?"
Too fast...... just too fast for my heart.
She walked out in that dress........ a beautiful gown that fitted perfectly.... my heart beat a little faster. I snapped some photos to distract from the tears in my eyes.
I wanted to say "Take it off" at the same time as "I'll buy it now"
I watched her looking at herself in that mirror. I know she's looked at hundreds of dresses online already. Many of her friends have their dresses already..... there is a whole instagram feed on this topic! She took a selfie to share with friends for their opinion.
We lingered......we loved it but how wise is it to buy the first dress you try on? What if there is something better out there? What if there wasn't?
I saw the doubt in her eyes the longer she looked in that mirror.
We walked out without it.
And as the night went on she was happier and happier that she hadn't bought it.
And I was sadder and sadder about why not.
She wants a dress that makes her look thinner, that flatters her more......I get that....of course you want to look amazing at your Prom......but the message that thin is better, thin is the goal, the point of the dress is heart-breaking.
She looked amazing. She IS amazing.
More than ever I wanted to hold her tight and tell her just to be true to herself. To trust herself . To know that she is beautiful not just in her mothers very biased eyes but in the eyes of so many. I want to kick the world for its stupid messages that stop girls eating so they can conform to some unrealistic dress size....so that they despise parts of their bodies.
We had a long teary chat later last night where I tried to use my Mama voice to drown out those other lies. Tried so hard to help her see herself as worthy and smart and beautiful and kind. At 17 she is jaded and hurt by feeling she falls short on so many of the worlds standards.
Just like when she went off to child care, to kindergarten, to camp, to Grade 8......I have to let her find her way in the world, let her be exposed to who and what is out there, to hear messages I disagree with, despise, but I, we, do not have to let her do it feeling alone.
I WILL walk alongside her and speak the truth, stay close enough to catch her when she stumbles or falls, be enthusiastic and joyful when she is down, listen to her voice and her heart and her hurt, love her, hold on to her....we will laugh and cry..... together.
SO very soon she will be on her own, maybe next year, maybe in a couple of years....but for right now she has me, she has us.....you?
We will find the perfect dress - the dress that makes her feel amazing, on top of the world.....and with any luck she'll know it's just a dress, for just one night, and it DOES not define her.
My darling girl.....I love you to the moon and back. All of you. Always.