The Box of Unworn Bows
When I first found out I was pregnant with a girl I dreamed of frilly dresses and bows. Growing up with two brothers I was sure I’d end up a boy mom, which I think I would have loved just as much, but I was excited to finally have some pink in my house. In celebration, I bought so many bows that they were coming out of my ears. My carefully curated collection included bows for every holiday, and season, and imagined photoshoots for my daughter. I could just picture twinkling lights and gummy smiles behind these gorgeous bows I picked out for her, my precious girl.
For the first few months, I relished dressing her up and taking her photo as much as I could. If I’m completely honest that was one of the few joys I experienced being a first-time mom in the first few months. The bows, however, never stayed put. Every time I finally got a bow perfectly perched atop her head she’d find a way to fling it across the room. Eventually, I learned my lesson and gave up entirely on the bow thing. If I’m lucky, a clip-in hint of color will make an appearance in a photo session but it never lasts a full day.
As my second daughter came on the scene I decided to give it one last try but alas, she too found enjoyment out of flinging bows off her head and across the room. I wasn’t devastated by it, it is just who they are, my girls are not bow girls.
I still have that box of bows. Currently, it sits in my second daughter’s room taking up space on her chest of drawers. I have kept it not because I had major hopes of them turning into toddlers that enjoyed wearing bows but simply because it reminds me that my children are not entirely my own.
When I look at this box of unworn bows I know my mission as a parent, outside of unconditional love and support, is not to make my children mini versions of myself. It is to help guide them toward their own true selves and their own hopes and dreams. They are not my personal clay molds or vessels to pour my lost hopes and dreams into.
Sure, I can guide them and I will do so as best I can. I could hold their hands and lead them but what if instead, I let them walk beside me on this journey as mother and daughter? What if I allowed them to freedom to show me who they are instead of trying to force them to become someone I hoped they would?
The small moments of respecting our children’s simple wishes can grow into something incredibly beautiful and important in a parent/child relationship. This box of unworn bows reminds me that I am really not in total control of my children and nor should I be.
They are their own humans embarking on their own paths and I cannot wait to see who they become.