Gustav gave us a couple of days of windy squalls - very bi-polar weather. Wind and rain, then some brief sunshine, then pouring rain, and so on and so forth. We escaped unscathed, for the most part. Thankfully, the worst of it was being stuck inside on a holiday weekend. We were very lucky.
I was at my sister-in-law's house last night, visiting on my own (I know! Without the kids!) and was talking to my sister-in-law about my kids and their magical ways. I was speaking fondly of Bubba and his personality and how very different he is from his sister. Bubba is easy to describe, and it isn't just because he is a baby - he has a big personality for a little guy and he puts it all out there - he doesn't hold back. At the ripe age of seven months, Bubba is big, boisterous, bouncing baby boy. He is fearless and curious and into everything he can reach and a few things he can't. He's sly and sneaky and, for such a loud kid, can be awfully stealthy when he wants to be.
Bella's personality is not that easy to describe. She was an enigma as a baby, as well. You never knew how she was going to react to a situation (except you knew eventually she would act shy and scared). She was an explorer, too, but a safe and predictable one. She was always tentative in her exploring, usually telling on herself by looking for reassurance as she tried to get into the dog food or something else. She was a very easygoing baby (except for being shy) and has grown into a rather easygoing kid.
All that to say this: I was trying to describe my Bella and kept contradicting myself. I would say, "Well, she is a princess" but then I would remember her propensity for wrestling, burping and transformer toys and then I would say, "Or a tomboy" but then I would remember the huge container of dress up outfits in her closet and her growing affection for purses and shoes. Then I started to say, "She's a quiet kid" but remembered how very shriek-y, shrill and insistent she can be. But "She is so loud!" wouldn't cut it either, because she still has that tendency to be shy and hide her face. She still acts like a kid (as she should, at 6, at least IMHO) in that she shuns live action shows in favor of cartoons - there's no Drake & Josh, Camp Rock or Hannah Montana (except that one 3-D concert) around my house - just SpongeBob, Chowder (one of my favorite cartoons ever, I must say) and other animated friends. But she is growing up because she thinks she needs a cell phone and wants to shave her legs (um, no to both, thank you).
So I went home, still mulling over Bella and how I could possibly describe her, and decided that I just can't. Not in just a couple of words or phrases. And then she drove that point home. Almost at that very moment she emerged from her room wearing blue camouflage football pajamas (I got them on sale - pajamas are pajamas, right?) with a pink tutu. She was wearing a tiara and clip-on Dora earrings. Around her neck she was wearing a lovely dice-themed mardi gras bead necklace and a toy police badge. In one hand she was wielding a marabou-feathered princess wand. She had a suction cup bow and arrow set slung over her shoulder, and sticking out of the back of her shirt was the butt of a toy shotgun. She was carrying a pink purse with purple marabou trim that was full of little plastic army men and the missiles from her transformer.
And what type of footwear does one wear with such an ensemble, you might ask? Well, I don't know what you would wear, but Bella, my lovely little fashion plate warrior, opted for a very fashionable brown mule with a small heel - very tasteful and understated. Since the rest of the outfit was so....colorful.
I laughed and asked her what she was doing, and she answered that she was just playing. I complimented her outfit and she thanked me, very seriously, and followed that up with, "I choose to wear this, mom. Is that OK?" I assured her that her choice was OK. But I wanted to take a picture of her and capture the moment (if the camera hadn't been in my husband's car) just so I can always remember how very magical she is.
She is big on the word 'choose' right now. The other day she had her black t-shirt tucked into her jeans and her jeans pulled up to just under her chest, grandpa-style. I giggled and suggested that she untuck the shirt, and she said she didn't want to. "I choose to wear this shirt tucked in" she replied, before heading to her room to find her pink monkey ankle socks with pom-poms and her black knee-high boots.
I love her for the way she is so uniquely, unashamedly herself, and I hope she stays that way forever. I know I could learn a thing or two from her. So here's to Bella - may you always choose to wear what you want to because it's comfortable or you like the way it looks, no matter what other people's thoughts, opinions and comments may be. I hope she always feels free to wear football pajamas with a tiara (although she could lose the toy shotgun and I'd be OK with it), or carry a purse full of boy toys. She is full of love and finds joy in everything she does, and I love her so much my heart aches. To my Bella: rock on, baby girl, mommy loves you.