Last weekend was a tough one in Chez Davis. My little girl learned that not everyone is viewed as equal & mommy learned that not every parent appreciates their child’s efforts like I do.
Over the summer Lyn was invited to partake in a local beauty pageant / fundraiser event for the Wounded Warrior Project. After researching & seeing that it was set out to be a pure/natural/no glitz affair, we agreed to help out a worthy cause. Not to mention she was sold at the prospect of winning a ‘princess’ crown. As the weeks passed Lyn’s excitement grew as we hunted down the perfect dress (for the billed ‘Sunday Wear’ portion), new snazzy shoes, & some patriotic casual wear. We ended up with a beautiful black/white silk dress, an Air Force jet print pinafore, and some accessories that regretfully made me acknowledge my 4 year old beauty was growing up.
Pageant day rolled around & as soon as we checked in I wanted to tuck tail & run. There were little girls in poufy skirts and curls piled on their head running around everywhere, heels clicking & sparkles shining. There were moms clustered around in groups playing the ‘My-Daughter-Wins-More –Than-Yours’ game & others still trying to get tiny babies into costumes easily twice their size. –sigh- We were in for a long day.
As we lined up for casual wear I noted off hand that my girl’s modest attire stood out. She didn’t bare belly or emphasize her ‘booty wear’. There were no lace up tops or thigh boots. And yes, I’m still talking about LITTLE girls here. She was nervous for her first stage walk, but remembered to smile at the judges and waive before running back off stage to me, “Mommy, I did it!”
Changing in to our formal (‘Sunday’) wear it became crystal clear we were out of our element. All around me little girls were being tied, zipped, & buttoned into rhinestone & tulle WOW wear. Totally Toddlers & Tiaras type stuff. Lyn’s hair was down and long with just a simple headband & bow to add ‘pop’ to the red. Everyone else’s was being Aqua-netted up into ridiculous piles, little girls screaming and kicking while their moms curled away. And in front of everyone, the beautiful, age-appropriate dress/’do my daughter wore was being mocked & laughed at by a cliquey pack of moms. Line up rolled around again & Lyn ran to the back of the room with tears in her eyes. “Mommy I can’t go out there. I’m not as prettier as these girls. They all think I look stupid & I won’t win my princess crown now.”
Let me tell you, I saw red. Here’s my little 4 year old, the Olive of her pageant, scared because GROWN women are laughing at her because she’s not a decked out show poodle. After giving a long, cold glare (& maybe a few other gestures) in their direction I calmed Lyn down & told her she was the most beautiful girl in the room & that she needs to finish her walk, just as strong as she started because she’s better than being a quitter. She lined up, dried up, & went out for her last stage walk.
AND SHE OWNED IT.
I’m talking spins, poses, waves, the biggest smile, & two-handed kiss blowing. Completely fearless. All the girls in her age group came on stage for one last look & I noticed a few things. My girl was the only one with skinned knees. My girl was the only one with her hair down & nails unpainted. My girl was also the only one smiling.
Crowning time came & went. There were 6 girls in her group, 7 titles & she wasn’t mentioned once. Her confidence on stage was overshadowed by her lack of glitzy experience. Lyn didn’t get the princess crown she had her heart set on…she came home with a t-shirt & ‘thank you’ mini trophy instead. She walked off stage a little upset, but was ‘happy the soldiers were happy’. The fundraiser was a success and THAT is what we did this for. To help others rather than ourselves. When we were driving home she declared herself to be ‘Prettiest Redhead of the World’. Damn straight kid.
To all you pageant moms out there, I applaud some of you. You’re awesome coaches to your daughters & super talented when it comes to crafting up ridiculously elaborate costumes. You listen to your children rather than talk over them. You do this because THEY love it & give up so much for so little. & to put up with some snobs all day for months in the pageant circuit deserves a gold medal. To you other moms who yank your child’s hair while curling, ration out their food, dress your BABIES up like mini hookers, and yell at your toddlers for using their diapers, shame on you. Grow up & show your girls the spirit of true beauty, rather than ‘leave it on the stage’.
Someone asked me earlier if I planned on putting the girls in another pageant. Highly doubtful. Around here we prefer scabby knees, sweaty heads, & dirty jeans to primped up Barbie dolls. Although, a particular song/dance talent number would be awfully tempting. A task I know for sure my big girl is up for any day. ;)