When my daughter, Delaney, was two, she fell in love with the Grinch — the cartoon version, not the Jim Carrey version (‘Cause I’m a GOOD parent, y’all. We waited until she was three to show her that version. Duh.). Her grandma sent her a stuffed Grinch for Christmas that year and she proceeded to sleep with it and drag it around for years.
Around that same time, we let her watch The Wizard of Oz. I know, I know. Some of you are gasping right now because two seems awfully young for trees that talk and flying monkeys and a melting, green-faced chick. But I know my kid and if I had thought, for even one second, that watching flying monkeys would freak her out, I would’t have let her. As it turns out, she developed a deep admiration for The Wicked Witch.
“I’m just a bad guy-liker,” she told me.
Her third birthday party was Wicked Witch-themed (no – not Oz or Dorothy or Glinda or sparkly ruby slipper-themed…WICKED WITCH-themed). Our gift to her? A life-sized cardboard cutout of the Wicked Witch that I ordered online from a movie poster company. For the next three years she slept with that cutout in her room as if the WW herself was keeping watch as she slept. Not normal, you say? Sure. But that’s just who my D is — fearless, quirky, and creative — and I love her for it.
Fast-forward to her eighth birthday this past weekend. The theme? Monster High. She loves, loves, loves the skull with the pink bow. The Monster High dolls don’t grace our home. “Because they’re too creepy!” she exclaims with disdain. Um. Yeah. But a skull with a bow? Totally acceptable. And, yet, I kind of get the appeal. KIND OF.
When Delaney was born it was important to me (yes, even control-freak me) that I let her be herself, no matter who she was going to be. I remember thinking back to my mom asking me, repeatedly, “Do you really want your hair to hang in your face that way?” Yes, mom. I did. I still do. It’s my thing.
I didn’t want to spend my time as a mother battling against who my own daughter needs and wants to be. And in so many ways I’m able to let go and let her be her. And yet. And yet…we do have hair battles (What is it with eight-year-olds who hate to brush their hair???). But the point is (yes, there’s a point!) when Delaney selected a skull with a pink bow for her pretty princess painting party at The Royal Canvas, who was I to complain? I got the invitations, ordered the skull-laden cake, and picked out temporary skull/bow tattoos and pink mustaches (Because while fake, fuzzy mustaches are not generally thought of in reference to skulls, they are the epitome of a good time. And pink ones? Blow regular, old black mustache fun OUT. OF. THE. WATER.).
Giving my daughter the party she wanted was important to me. Although I did, for one fleeting moment, wonder what the other parents would think when their kids left the party with their SKULL paintings. But Delaney never gave that a thought. The cool thing is, when you’re eight, you love what you love, you’re proud of it, and you don’t care what other people think. I wanna be more like her.