I am the mother of 3 girls. When I first heard I was having a girl, I didn’t envision pink ribbons and curls. I’m more the purple streaks and funky hats type of girl, myself. I never quite felt like I fit or really knew where to belong. Growing up, I was always told that if I wanted to support my expensive taste I would need to marry a doctor or lawyer. No one ever told me I could be one. I was determined to empower my girls to be whoever they wanted to be. I think we all strive to do just a little bit better than the generation before us. For me, that meant giving my children choices I never had myself. While I have fond memories of Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake, I didn’t want to streamline my own daughter into any specific stereotypes.I made an extra effort to buy our oldest daughter Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels and boy dolls to balance out the Disney princess, Barbie dolls and fancy hairpieces everyone else threw her direction. Stacia didn’t turn out to be a tomboy, but she isn’t a girly girl either. She landed somewhere in the middle. Mission accomplished. Stacia has a style all her own—a little funky, sometimes wannabe punk with interests ranging from baking to motocross. Her latest fashion craze was mismatched holiday socks (but only if the holiday wasn’t any time soon). She reminds me a lot of myself, actually—which is probably why it’s a struggle to get along. My 2nd daughter came along and had all the same choices. Her life included attending her older sister’s soccer games and a ride-on motorcycle mixed with frilly clothes and a dress-up trunk. She couldn’t have cared less about trucks and hasn’t voluntarily worn a pair of pants in 4 years. Brenia announced at age 2 that she absolutely must have dresses because “princesses do not wear pants” and no amount of Aladdin-viewing would change her mind. This is the child who randomly appears in our scrapbooks wearing fairy wings or giant faux pearls and wears a skirt to go camping. On the other hand, our youngest is the son we never had. Except, remember I have 3 girls? She has always been fascinated with trains and trucks. I can bribe her at the grocery store with a $.97 Hot Wheels car and have perfect behavior (sometimes). Her fashion phases run to colors. One year, she would only wear green. It didn’t matter what it was so long as it had green on it. However, a tomboy she is not. Her color of choice this year? Pink—in every shade imaginable. She enjoys frilly dresses. She loves princess movies. Lorelai will don a tiara and heels to ride her Thomas the Tank Engine around the house.
I think the choices they’ve been given have left them free to become who they are. Each of my girls comes with a style all her own. They have personalities that run the spectrum. Their interests are varied and plentiful. All three of them are just as happy with snakes as kittens. These girls enjoy trucks as much as ballet and often dig in the dirt with their fresh manicures. Our summer of fun has included all of those, so far.
The event that best showcased the lack of gender lines in our house was Touch-A-Truck. We went specifically for my two biggest truck fans—Lorelai and my nephew—but Brenia had just as much fun. Of course, the highlight for her was running into a school friend. Lorelai loved it all and buckled herself into each of the drivers’ seats. Levi’s favorite part was touching a “big wheel,” followed closely by the “firefrucks” and “woo-woos” (otherwise known as police vehicles) both featured in my new favorite home video: