When my daughter came home from school the other day she immediately bragged to me and her two sisters about the book report she had just been assigned. Her very first book report, which (for a book worm like her) is the highlight of all things holy. When asked what book she would be writing about, she explained that each student got to choose a book about a specific historical figure from a list provided by the teacher. We heard all the details: who chose what, what the books all looked like, all the different choices offered, etc. And when I was finally able to get a word in edgewise to ask her whom she chose, she ecstatically shouted: “Sacagawea!!”
My presumptuous mind immediately filled with pride as I puffed my plumes, took a huge sigh of relief, and mumbled something about my job being done here. I envisioned her sitting in that classroom, just hours earlier, carefully selecting the strongest female role model she could identify from that list. I felt sheer joy thinking about how hard I’ve worked to incorporate both routine subtleties and strongly worded messages of empowerment into all of my daughters’ daily rhythms. I actually praised myself and secretly boasted that all of it had actually paid off!
And then….THEN…. I ask her the obvious question that I wish I’d never uttered: “Why did you choose Sacagawea?”
Without hesitation, she emphatically replies: “Because she was the prettiest one on the list, of course!”
And like a limp idiot, I shrank down in my seat as my balloon of pride deflated almost as quickly as it grown. Every X chromosome inside of me shouting out various expletives as I became acutely and awkwardly aware of my complete and utter mom-fail. How did I let this happen?
And so I digress. And regress. And quietly drop about a dozen different f-bombs under my breath. From prideful to pissed off, all in under ten seconds. Back to the basics I go, humbled by my oldest daughter’s innocent gravitation towards what our society has begun grooming her for, and settling in for the long road of realizations and raw education that lie ahead. Clearly, my job is far from done here.