It’s Not Just a Purse

My sweet little Annabelle has begun to carry around a purse. She scoots it up into the crook of her chubby arm and walks all around the house or the grocery store like she owns the place. You can tell that she just loves it and she gets so excited when she’s got her purse and I’ve got mine.

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I can’t tell you what made her love carrying a purse so much. I’m not sure where or how she figured out to put things like her necklace or toy compact inside it and carry it on her arm. I suppose she figured it out by watching me. That’s where little girls pick these things up isn’t it? From their Mamma’s?

She’s watching me, learning from me what womanhood looks like and even at 16 months old, she can pick up on the fact that something inside of her resonates with something inside of me and we do things in tandem.

The fact that I am her teacher excites and overwhelms me a little bit. I love it and I fear it all at the same time. I love it because it is a privilege to see a little girl grow into a woman but I fear it because I don’t want to miss out on conveying the deep importance behind who we are and what we do as women. I don’t want her to miss the power and meaning behind the everyday acts, the common things associated with us and how everything we do has the power to better others.

Like carrying a purse for example. She doesn’t know it now but while she’s carrying around her little Minnie Mouse bag full of her treasures, she’s training her arms to carry the weight of other people’s treasures. Things like her sippy cup or her brother’s favorite figurine toys, her Daddy’s keys or her diaper rash cream fill my Kate Spade bag. Things that the people I love need and love compete for space with my stuff and that’s just fine. That’s why I carry a purse, so I can take care of them all in style.

Or how we as women take so much time in the morning to make ourselves look as beautiful as we can. She watches me apply the blush, straighten my hair, spray the perfume, and pick the perfect accessories. I know she knows what I am drawn to; that appreciation for beauty is obvious in her when she looks at herself in the mirror and smiles or points to her hairbows and says “pretty”. She’s pulled by that same force but she doesn’t know why yet and I hope I can show her.

I hope I can explain to her that we don’t want or need all of that because we’re vain or self-conscious, because society expects it of us or because we’re not beautiful without it. No, cosmetics and fashion have a deeper pull on us because we know in our hearts that we are the best chance that the world has to see the beauty of our creator. His ability to captivate and take breaths away is reflected in the form of women and the privilege of sharing this with the world deserves a little lip gloss sometimes.

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Photo credit Melissa Yocum Photography

When she babbles on and on mixing in the distinguishable with the baby sounds, I hope she knows that I get it. I understand that she has and always will have a lot to say and that conversation is a good thing. Us girls sure know how to chat it up. I hope she knows that this gift that she will carry though, the one that weaves her words with others like thread on a loom is not something to see as petty or laughable. She isn’t the caricature of a woman talking like a chicken clucks in the yard. No, I hope that she can see beyond the surface and identify the root of this need to speak and listen; it comes from our ability to carry relationships to connect with others, to share our thoughts and hear those of the people we love. To communicate is to contribute to the world and to embrace the contributions of others. That is the business of girl talk.

I hope that that little heart that feels so deeply, the one that causes her to scream when she’s mad or cry alligator tears when she’s sad, I hope that someday soon she’ll recognize it’s unmatched power. I hope that when she’s sees me moved to tears by a friend or a romance novel that she’ll get that feeling of understanding in her gut, the one that gives permission to feel and validate. I hope that together we can acknowledge that yes, we as women feel deeply and just can’t hide it and that’s just fine. It’s great actually because in this world full hardness, the heart of a woman has the capacity to grow softer and softer if you let it. And like a pillow for a weary head, that softness is a gift to weary world.

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Photo Credit Melissa Yocum Photography

I hope that as she grows up, I can help her recognize that all of these things that scream “GIRLY” to the world are her secret weapons. The things that are tied up tight within her heart are there for a reason and they are to be celebrated. She is drawn to them already because with them, she will serve and change and connect and captivate. In her femininity, she is fierce, a warrior with a purse and her softness will melt the things of this world. Within her is the capacity to bring forth life and to make it better and that is the power of women.

I hope that you know all of these things too friends. I hope that you know that you’re beauty, your femininity, your strengths and your softness is not something to hide. On the contrary, it’s there for a purpose. We are the torches of beauty, of servanthood, of connection and gentleness in a dark world. So carry those purses full of your entire families stuff, talk until you’re blue in the face, cry when you need to and then laugh afterwards because this world needs women. This world needs beauty and strength and just like a purse that can offer gum, keys, money, snacks, diapers, socks, you name it, you’ve got just what the world needs within the depths of you.