October 4, 2013

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Stay in style, remain true to the person God has called you to be

Patti LambMy daughter, Margaret, will soon be turning 6 years old.

As a typical 6-year-old-to-be, she constantly reminds me of her birthday wish list. And I don’t use the word “constantly” lightly.

She repeatedly asks for particular treasures. I hear the same old requests—over and over again.

In fact, I know them by heart: She wishes for “an Andrew Luck football helmet, a real big red dog and rocket shoes.” Oh! And I should also mention the camper.

Margaret is pretty much a tomboy. That’s the way God made her, and I love her unique—although sometimes unconventional—presence.

Now that she’s in school the entire day and spends a big part of her time with other children, however, I’m finding that she’s quite impressionable.

When she came down for breakfast last week and we counted down the days until she officially turns 6, she smiled and said, “And then I will become a pretty pink princess!”

I took another swig of Diet Coke, sure that I wasn’t fully awake and that the caffeine hadn’t yet been absorbed into my bloodstream.

But I grew suspicious when she asked for a princess dress and further conversation turned to hopes of a pink dog wearing a crown.

“I thought you were wishing for an Andrew Luck football helmet,” I said.

She commented that she had changed her mind. Instead, she now desperately wished for what her friend, Izzie, has. “Pink dogs are the cutest,” she added.

She further explained that she wanted a princess dress because all of her friends have princess dresses.

“Oh, my Margaret,” I thought to myself, “there’s so much I want to tell you, but I’m not sure that you’ll understand right now.”

How could I communicate to her that I’ve been struggling my whole life with the same thorny issue of hoping to fit in?

To demonstrate my point: Recently, I saw an ad in the Sunday newspaper for jeans that I wore in the fifth grade. Apparently, they’re coming back in style. (Picture denim covered in whitewash wildflowers.)

Back in the day, they were all the rage. I saved all of my baby-sitting money for them. While I wouldn’t have picked them out myself, everyone was wearing them, and I desperately wanted to fit in. The same was true with homecoming and prom dresses. I look back at the photos and shudder.

This time around, upon gazing at the floral jeans, I chuckled to myself and turned the page of the weekly circular, thinking to myself, “Thou shall not go there.”

Then my thoughts turned to my volleyball days back in high school. Although I desperately wanted to spike the ball, I’m 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I was more of a back-row player, digging up the hits of taller players on the opposing teams. My good friend and teammate was a brilliant athlete, and played the net effortlessly. God had given her different strengths than he had given to me.

I wasn’t sure how to convey to Margaret that God calls each of us to be the unique souls that he has deliberately fashioned. Fads come and go. Fashion is fickle. Remaining true to the person God has called us to be is always in style.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I dug out a book by Dr. Seuss and read this quote aloud: “Today, you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is YOUer than you.”

To my Margaret, who soon turns 6, I love the “you” that God has made.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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