The other day, my 7-year-old Coco came home from school in tears. Between crying fits, she told me that the kids on her bus were “being bullies.”
“Ya mama, they were being mean to her,” said her little brother Mr. Pancakes.
“What were they being mean about?” I asked, even though all I really wanted to do right then is run down the street, stop those kids and go all “mama bear” on their sorry…well, I’d better stop there and continue with the story. But let’s just say I was fuming.
“They said I look funny and my clothes are stupid.” said Coco.
Ok, first of all, Coco is a non-conformist when it comes to clothing choices. The more colour and the more “quirkiness” she can put into the outfit, the better. Leggings under her short denim overalls, mis-matching coloured socks, bright pink snow pants, a toque with bunny ears, and a scarf with stripes that match nothing else on her body. And never, ever ask her to wear a dress.
The girl’s got her own style. And I don’t fight it. She looks like Coco. My girl with the non-conformist attitude and a zest for something different. Kind of reminds me of the woman she got her nickname from…Miss
Coco Chanel. If she has her body covered and the clothes are good quality and not too small, then what is the big deal if she doesn’t look like a kid from the Gap ad? So what if she wants to put her outfit together differently than the magazine stylists? Aren’t we encouraged to let our children have a personality of their own? Don’t we want our children to stand up and stand out? And for something as safe as mis-matching socks, you’d think…
But when your wee girl comes home crying, spirit crushed because ONE fourth grader decided to be mean…well, this mama began to re-think everything she had been telling that quirky Miss Coco. Should I make her change her ways so she won’t get bullied at school?
But then I thought again. I will not try to make my girl into something she isn’t just because of one bully. And so I told Coco this…
Do you like how you look? Yes, I thought so. Well, you know how you used fight mama with a fierceness I’ve never seen about what you choose to wear in the morning? Yes? And you know how I finally just accepted that you are who you are and you like what you like? Yes? Well, I want you to stand up for yourself just as you did with me. Have the courage you showed with me when you are away from me. You be you. Because “you” is the loveliest, strongest, most colourful “you” I have ever seen. And if those kids can’t see that, they aren’t worth your time. Walk away, little girl. And walk away knowing you are a smart and precious being with courage enough to be yourself.
And so she did. And she did so in her mis-matched socks.
Thanks for stopping by,
Arlee, Small Potatoes
ps…the photo on today’s HashBrowns was made by my oldest daughter, Miss Emily. She rocks it when she gets a camera in her hands. #proudmama