1. This weekend, my soon-to-be 15-year-old daughter took my breath away. She took responsibility, she showed style and grace and a sense of humor. Just being around her makes me want to be a better person too - and believe me, I was NOT always my best possible self this weekend!
To start things off this weekend, we celebrated Rosie's 9th birthday. Her true birthday is later this week, but because the weather was supposed to be nice yesterday, and because Calvin had it off, we decided to go ahead and have it on Saturday. And Rosie wanted a Frozen birthday!
All week long I saw Izzy downstairs playing with paper and scissors. I wasn't really sure what she was up to until yesterday, when I saw her outside hanging all of these beautiful snow flakes that she taught herself to make watching Youtube videos!
2. She also decorated her sister's beautiful birthday cake. The figures are made from Starburst candies that she handcrafted into the Frozen characters. I was amazed.
3. Now, the homeschool dance was last night. I paid $50 for Izzy and Noah to be able to go. We always bring a plate of something to share with the other dance guests- in years past its been pastries or pizza roll ups. This year it was a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
Izzy and I went shopping for her dress a few weeks ago. She has certainly picked up my love for thrift, and when we found this cute little party dress for only $12, we immediately bought it. I thought it was fun, young, and more importantly, it met all of the homeschool dance guidelines which were...
- Wear a modest, formal or semi-formal dress.
- No short short dresses, Hem of dress and/or any slits should be no higher than a couple of inches above the knee.
- No revealing necklines. No cleavage whatsoeverMidriff must be covered.
- No strapless or halter dresses. No one shoulder straps. Spaghetti straps are permitted.
- No low backs (below the bottom of the shoulder blades) or laces revealing low back.
- All areas that are to be covered must be covered with solid fabric, not sheer fabric.
I felt that we did that very well. Izzy and I even went out to get her a new slip and bra to make extra sure that everything that should be covered, was covered!! Keep in mind that Izzy is now probably 5 foot 8 or so and takes after her father with very, very long legs.
So if you're keeping track that's
- cost of the tickets for the dance,
- cost of gas to get there (which is no trifle these days).
4 . We get to the dance, and I dropped Izzy and Noah off. I had been out in the hot outdoors with the birthday party preparations and actual party and didn't have a chance to shower and change, so I felt comfortable letting them out. I wasn't more than 5 minutes down the road when my cell phone went off. Noah was at the other end sounding very sorry and very apologetic - but I would need to come back and get Izzy because her dress had been judged to be inappropriate.
Let me tell you how that feels - someone has judged that my judgement for what is appropriate for my daughter to wear was bad, wrong, immoral, and in this case, somehow an occasion of sin.
And remember, I give a talk about this to the confirmation girls once a month - I'm not exactly new at this.
I turned around, and went back to the dance to find Izzy walking quickly down the path to meet me. She had a look of surprise and mortification on her face! On the other hand, I was just ticked and was ready to get out of the car and have it out with the dance people, but Izzy didn't want it. "Mom, take me home and let me put that dress on in my closet. It will fit and I can wear that instead."
I had to think about what dress she was talking about. She said it was purple with little flowers and pleats in the skirt - then it hit me. She was talking about the dress I wore in my best friend's wedding - 34 years ago! I was astounded. Izzy didn't care what she wore, as long as she got back into that dance.
I drove over to Macy's as quickly as I could and got her something like this. Not exactly semi-formal, but to her ankles, covering her body and not costing a fortune.
I'd like to tell you I did this all in reserved silence, but I was venting the entire way. And when I stopped talking (only because I ran out of nasty things to say about the dance organizers) Izzy touched my arm and said, "I love you mom." She had a big grin on her face. At least she finds me amusing.
5. With grace, charm and a touch of class, Izzy grabbed her purse, gave me a kiss and walked back into the dance as if nothing at all had happened. They gave her her dance card and her little "thanks for coming" gifts and she disappeared onto the dance floor to find her brother and see which one of her friends showed up.
When Mr. Pete and I came to pick her up at 11:30 she was laughing and dancing, and when it came time for prizes, her name was called out for winning a Chipotle gift certificate - she was thrilled.
Nothing flustered that girl. Nothing.
Calming Mr. Pete down, especially when we saw a number of other young ladies wearing dresses as short or shorter than Izzy had on, was another story.
6. Rather than hide my shame, I posted the picture of Izzy in the dress on Facebook. I figured my friend would either rally around me or take me to task. So far, everyone has been on my side - the dress was appropriate. Here are some of my favorite comments.
She's beautiful! And the dress is stunning, feminine and modest. You go, Dad (Peter), - raise some heck!
She looks fantastic! Beautiful color, gorgeous style. I suppose elegance and sophistication is against the homeschooler's idea that frump is equivalent to modesty.
And that's why I have no desire to join home school groups anymore. Cannibalism by sanctimoniousness hypocritical people and propagation of scrupulosity just aren't examples of Christian living I need my children to be surrounded by. (((Hugs)))
I don't even WANT to know who judged your daughter's dress as inappropriate. THIS is why I refuse to participate in the "homeschool semi-formal". I can't believe you tolerate this treatment, Elena. It gives the whole homeschool culture a bad name to have such judgmental attiitudes acknowledged and "revered". She could wear that to church....but not not to a homeschool dance???? Really, folks? Izzy is a sweetheart, and she looks beautiful.
7. The epiphany moment for me this weekend is that Izzy is not some little fragile flower that needs to be zealously protected. She may be quiet and reserved on the outside, but in reality she is creative and smart. She looks for solutions to her problems and she doesn't let someone else's judgements about her stop her from being who she is.
Today, just for the fun of it, she wore that dress to church and sang in the choir. And she rocked it. I am so proud of this young woman - my daughter.