Girl With a Blue Ribbon

by Becky on May 15, 2012

in Fashion, Parenting

The other day, my thirteen-year-old daughter, a girl with the tall, willowy body of a Lladro figure and a face just as delicate, wore a wide, blue silk ribbon in her hair—simply because it pleased her.

Lladro with a blue ribbon

I worried about the ribbon. Yes, like many mothers of middle-school-age daughters, I fretted. Because there was a distinct possibility that someone coarse—someone who would likely never know the joy of wearing a makeshift headband—would raise a strident eyebrow just enough for the disapproval to register with my daughter.  Middle schoolers can make piranhas look like lap dogs. “Are you sure you want to wear that ribbon?” I asked her tentatively before she left for school. “I like it!” she declared simply, and, chastened by her happy determination to wear something that tickled her, I watched her bound out the door with an optimism that was obviously a direct byproduct of having her hair pulled back, the ribbon fixed in place, the bow tied underneath her hair.

Great style with a blue ribbon

Not a thing happened at school, but maybe that’s because everyone who knows her also knows it would feel downright wrong to put a dent in that smile.

Confident with a blue ribbon

I’ve thought a lot about that ribbon. It seems emblematic of the things I’ve sometimes decided not to allow myself to do or say for fear of the quiet censure that is no less real for being of the more nuanced, adult variety. My new action item: Picture myself in a big silk bow whenever I’m tempted not to be authentic.

Blue Ribbon Girl Closeup

Thank you Miss Zinnia, blue-ribbon girl. You’re a very good teacher.

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