On The First Day Of School. Or, Let Her Wear Combat Boots And A Miniskirt.

IMG_5923On her first day of pre-k, my daughter Maia defied the no-skirts-shorter-than-3-inches-above-the-knee rule. That’s my girl.

I want my daughters to follow the rules. To be mindful of boundaries, routines, and expectations. To listen to their teachers and to their peers, too.

But part of me wants them break the rules. To challenge the reasoning and people hiding behind rules.

Of course I’m flirting with self-destruction here. My parenting pedagogy insists on rules. Or at least on consistency and decorum. At our house, for instance, bedtime does not waver. Nor for the most part do I. We tend toward quinoa, not candy. May I please’s and thank you’s abound, as do sharing and helping.

Like so many parents, I want my children to trust family and home. So I structure our days to fulfill promises: hugs are gratuitous, books are read, chores are shared, expectations are clear. Outside is always an adventure, home is always waiting to welcome us. Friends and ideas are celebrated, baths have bubbles, and bellies are full and full of love.

In structuring our days, I want to construct a confidence for my daughters. But I want their wills free and freely exercised. I want them to take everything they need from my carefully organized days and then I want them step out. No. I want them to stomp out.

Let them wear combat boots on their way out. And a miniskirt.

Years from now, someone remind me to step back so I don’t get my toes or my heart broken. Remind me to cheer for my daughters, even if I’m cheering against myself. Because this is what I want for my girls: the confidence to defy boundaries, routines, and expectations.

A dresscode-tempting miniskirt isn’t particularly scandalous or even rebellious on a four-year-old. Still, Maia’s style makes me proud. Go, Maia. Go.

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