I was beyond flattered when my friend Carolyn, of The Wishing Elephant, asked me to participate in this fabulous Strong Girl project. Along with other truly wonderful bloggers, Instagrammers, and small business owners, I took a photo of Maile wearing Carolyn's adorable Strong Girl Costume. And then, she asked, write about why your daughter is strong.
I'm sure you're thinking, "Can a two year-old really be strong? Already?" Well, yes, is my answer.
For those who may not know, my husband Tim is the driller on an oil rig. This job is incredibly demanding in many ways, but it demands most of our family life, as Tim is away a little over half the year. Especially at Maile's age, these weeks that Tim is gone could certainly lead to outbursts, tantrums, generally bad behavior ... as she works through our family's schedule ... and understandably so! But not so.
The morning after Tim leaves, Maile wakes as she always does. If he left after she went to bed, she'll sometimes inquire, "Dada?" "Dada's at work," I say. "Dada went to work in the truck! Dada be back soon ... Dada take you on the carousel when he comes home!" is her inevitable response. Always, always including the (zoo) carousel, which is something special they do together during Tim's days off.
When there is a problem, "when he comes home," is Maile's solution. When a toy needs new batteries, or something needs superglue, or a light bulb goes out, matter-of-factly she says, "Dada change-a batteries when he comes home," or, "Dada fix it when he comes home." Small to-dos accumulate for him, at her request. Maybe, in her toddler mind, if he has projects to do, he'll always have to come home. I'm not sure, but I'm happy to leave those tasks for Dada, if it gives our Maile peace of mind.
If you ask her why her Dada has to go away to work, she says, "Dada take care-a Maile," with hardly a second thought. And though we've of course told her this very thing many times, she does seem to understand and accept it with maturity beyond her years.
If we are having a long, challenging day, and it's beginning to show on my face, she'll drop what she's doing, place her little hand on my arm, and ask, "Okay, Mama?" "Yes, I'm okay. A little tired," is usually my reply. She'll take my hand in hers, pull me to the floor, and say, "Just sit with me, Mama." She'll sit on my lap, and we'll sit ... snuggling, and being near. On those days, I think she's the one taking care of me.
Maile is a child whose life is in a constant state of upheaval. As the saying goes, everything changes, everything stays the same. Yet, at two, she is a uniquely sweet and sensitive soul, wise beyond her years. I'm so very proud of my Strong Girl.
The Wishing Elephant is generously donating 10% of the proceeds from every Strong Girl Costume sold to The Girl Effect, a foundation whose mission is to leverage "the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries and the world."
I am floored by the company I am in. Please visit the Instagram accounts and pages of the other participants. I guarantee you'll find some new friends, and some new favorite shops as well!
+ Leslie Spencer: livinonlove