“Ella,” I call for the third time. She’s hiding. I’ve just walked into my room to discover my purse on the ground and the contents spilled out all over the carpet. It’s hard to tell at first what exactly she has gotten into. My breath mints? My hand sanitizer? My lotion? My make-up bag? Oh, no, please don’t let it be the make-up bag again! No sooner had this thought passed my mind that she appeared. Pillow over face. I assumed she was playing peek-a-boo. I quickly play along acting like I can’t see her. I playfully grab the pillow from her hands and sit mouth wide open. Yep. It was the make-up bag.

Her face painted like a three year old who tried to apply dark red lipstick, it was too funny not to laugh. This wasn’t the first time and I was sure it was not to be the last. So, I decided that she would be getting some make-up of her own after that. If for no other reason than I could not continue to afford replacing my lipsticks! Some sweet smelling, multi-colored lipsticks made just for her. More pretend than actual make-up, but it would do for now. Until…gosh, I don’t know when. But her persistent curiosity had paid off.

Isn’t it funny how our children invite us (push us) into new chapters?

I have given some thought to when my daughter will do things. You know the things. Make-up, ears pierced, shaving, periods, dating, and… let’s just stop right there. Like most moms, I’m too busy dealing with the things of today to think that far in advance. But even now it seems like the next chapters come along much sooner than I had planned, yet somehow I manage to adjust. Although I know as my children get older those things will become more…messy. Much messier than a three year old who has gotten into her mom’s make-up bag.

But I love that she’s curious about mama and mama’s things. I remember as a little girl being the same way. Wanting to wear the make-up and heels and perfume and powder and all the good smelling stuff. My mom sold Avon so my sisters and I were probably wearing make-up much sooner than my friends. There were always samples laying around and no doubt my mom felt the pressure, too, of easing the curiosity of her little girls.

Like most people, my natural tendency is to do things the way they were done for me. That’s probably why giving my little girl some make-up of her own seemed like the logical thing to do. You see, my mom was a yes mom. Meaning she always said yes unless it had to be no. She saved the no’s for the big things. The important things. The things that really mattered. So, I find myself being the same way. But I can certainly see the value in waiting. I have no doubt there are many women out there today who were made to wait as young girls and now, being mom’s themselves, see the benefit of it. I think we each write our own rules when it comes to rites of passage. That’s a part of this blessed mommy job we all have. 

I got my own ears pierced when I was six years old and I’ve always thought my daughter would do the same. But maybe she won’t. Maybe she’ll want to wait. Or maybe she’ll be four years old begging to have holes in her ears just like her mama. Maybe she’ll discover my earrings and think her pretend ones just aren’t good enough anymore. If that happens, well I guess that will be my invitation into a new chapter. Because I don’t believe there is a right or wrong timing to some things. It’s more like an inevitable when.

When will I paint my nails like you, mama?

When will I wear big heels?

When will the bows and headbands give way to hairspray and straightening irons?

When will I refuse to wear ruffles and tights?

When will I pick out my own clothes and have a style all my own?

When will I stand before the mirror and wonder if I’m pretty?

And that last one, that’s the one that matters. I’m not so much worried about the when and if she wears make-up or gets her ears pierced or wants to dye her hair, as I am about her knowing that none of that will ever make or not make her pretty. When she knows her worth was determined long before she was born and that she is far more valuable than pretty could ever promise, then I will have done her a great justice.

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Sherry White

Sherry White writes about the messiness of life, parenting, and faith at her blog The Messy Christian. She tries to add her own brand of humor and insight into everyday issues we all face, reminding us that even though we find ourselves in countless messes, God’s grace lights the way. She would be thrilled if you follower her on Facebook and Instagram.

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