I like to think of myself as pretty much the best mom ever. I'm not saying that I am the best mom ever. I just like to think of myself that way. It feels right and I'm working towards making it true. Every once in a while I have a moment when it's so close to true I feel a chill of greatness up and down my spine.
For a couple of years I have prided myself on letting Laylee choose her own clothes most of the time. When she wants to go to preschool in various shades of pink and red with orange hair bows all over her head, I tell her that would be just fine. When she heads to the grocery store in black leggings, a brown and pink skirt, a blue striped top and purple vest, I compliment her on her creativity. But every once in a while I want her to look put together. Every once in a while I want to parade my kids around like they are children of a mother who is not colorblind or demented.
Tonight the tiny fashionista living in a small dusty corner of my brain woke suddenly and begged me to do something about Laylee's choice of outfit. We were headed out to dinner and to the mall for a Christmas light show. I wanted her to look cute and not in a way only a mother could love so I put my foot down. As we fought back and forth about what constituted a "matching" outfit, she started to cry. It wasn't a dramatic fit, just a really genuine sadness.
"Mom," she asked through her tears, "Why won't you let me pick my clothes all the time? I just really want to wear the pink dress with my leggings."
It occurred to me how little control she has over her life. There are so few choices she actually gets to make. Picking out her own clothes has long been one of her favorite things to do and I was denying her that because I didn't want to look silly at the mall.
So I apologized and with a grateful smile she went back to work picking out her masterpiece. She ended up with hot pink leggings, a clashing pink striped spandex sundress over a boxy blue t-shirt, blue and pink striped socks, 2 winter scarves, a red beret and sparkly read Dorothy shoes.
She spun proudly in front of me and said, "See? I was right. It looks totally wonderful." I smiled and admitted defeat. She did look wonderful and I could feel the chill of greatness. Sometimes being a good mom means saying goodbye to your pride and sense of fashion.