When I became a new mom, especially a new girl mom, my favorite hobby I never knew I had until that point was dressing Olivia to match me. She had no idea what was going on, and it soothed some OCD part of my soul for us to be coordinating on a regular basis. When I was really little, my mom and I had a set of matching dresses we wore together, and I have this cherished picture of me sitting on her lap at the church I grew up in with me looking like her little ventriloquist dummy in these 90s-esque floral dresses, and for some reason, I carried that love over to my little girl. When she was itty bitty, it was more of a coordination than a true matching because I couldn’t find baby clothes that completely matched, but I was hooked on dressing us alike.
And then, somewhere around two to three years old, she got very opinionated about her wardrobe. VERY opinionated. She would get super sassy about things she didn’t want to wear and was adamant about picking out her own clothes.
I had to remind myself often that clothed was best. But we pushed through what I called our “retirement home chic” phase—loud floral stretch pants and other printed shirts or whatever she could find that didn’t match in the least. We went through a brief princess phase when I will never forget taking her to eat Mexican food dressed completely as Sleeping Beauty, knowing the fight to change just wasn’t worth it. And then somewhere around four or five, she began asking to match me. I don’t know the inner driving force to it, but she would specifically ask what I was going to wear, especially to church, and request an outfit to match.
Recently I watched her casually walk in while I was getting ready and clock my outfit. She disappeared for a few minutes and returned wearing jeans and a T-shirt, just like me. She sat quietly and rolled the hems of her jeans up a turn or two, just like I do (because I’m apparently too short for regular-length jeans). She will observe my hair and ask often for a similar style. About a year ago, I ended up buying an extra stool for my bathroom because I would constantly find her perched on mine, digging through my makeup trying to apply it all, typically a little more creatively than I do.
It’s heartwarming, but ever so humbling, to know your daughter wants to be just like you. But more recently it’s given me pause to ponder if I want her to be just like me in more than our outfits.
I pray she notices kindness to others that she wants to emulate. I hope she sees a drive to help others and a sense of consideration for those around her. I want her to notice and take on a commitment to taking care of her physical body through exercise from my example. I’d love her to see a strong work ethic and tenacity, boldness for what is right, and gentleness and patience in any wrong that she enacts. I want her to see an inner joy through life’s ups and downs and daily life.
Most of all, I hope she wants to match having a strong relationship with the Lord through consistent study of Scripture, prayer, and community with other believers. And that’s the most humbling part—it’s not matching if both sides aren’t the same. She won’t match me if I’m not doing my part.
One of the biggest motivators in my adult life when it comes to my behavior is asking myself if I would want my child to act this way as an adult, or if I’m raising my children to act this or that way. Nobody’s perfect and nobody’s going to get everything right 100% of the time, but striving to be our best knowing the Lord scaffolds our weakness is what we are called to.
There have definitely been days I’ve heard a little voice playing “mom” jump all over baby dolls for misbehaving in some way (typically being slower than molasses and not listening as those are the two biggest grievances around here), and I wince a little. They soak it all up and want to be just like us, and I pray every day that we are exhibiting the qualities and actions worth matching.