Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Color Purple

I don't like the color purple.

I know, some of you are shocked. You love purple. And that's the thing about purple. It's a strong color about which people have strong opinions. 

For eight years I have been the mother of a girl, and yet I have maintained a purple-free household. The occasional purple t-shirt we have purchased, but there has been no bedroom, no birthday party in which purple has prominantly featured.

Until now.

My eldest daughter's bedroom is now Bher's Premium "Hosta Flower" lavender with a white and purple duvet on the bed and purple curtains on the window. 

Sophia turns nine on Valentine's Day and what she wanted more than anything in the world was to redecorate her bedroom. While she was still in the womb, Mommy got to choose her colors.  Following the height of Pottery Barn baby fashion in 2004, I chose pink and green bedding with Vanilla Milkshake on the walls (Daddy said no to pink walls, or they would have been pink). Since infancy, we've obviously bought a big girl bed and a desk, but the vintage "Dick and Jane" art was still on the walls and the color scheme the same.

Slowly, Sophia has shed her baby accessories (a baby carriage-shaped vase that her first bouquet of flowers came in) and added age-appropriate trinkets (Harry Potter Legos, soccer trophies). It's been a blending of how Mommy envisioned her first baby girl to be and who she actually is becoming.

But now, in an obvious metaphor, Sophia has declared herself her own person, and I, very wisely if I do say so myself, have embraced it. Even championed her cause to Daddy who was still championing the yellow walls (he likes purple less than I do, and also dislikes painting).  See before and after photos!

And here's the odd thing: I love the new purple room! It's beautiful and soothing and so well-suited to my wonderful, creative girl.

Even more, I love the opportunity to ponder a great truth of mothering: We can try to direct our kids to what we like or wish for them, but ultimately loving them is about learning to love who they actually are and what they love. I have tried to shape my daughters' palettes with healthy food; their musical ear with diverse artists; their creative impulses by exposure to beauty; a love of learning by much reading; their relationship to God by exposure to His word and His love. (My mom did the same thing, and blames herself, by the way for my dislike of purple, because she dressed me in it constantly). But ultimately, I'm not in control of who they are and what they choose to love.

I know the future will give me ample opportunities to love what they love. Maybe it will be lacrosse. Maybe I'll be sitting (cheering silently) at chess tournaments. Maybe it will be admiring their first tattoo (oh please no!).

During both my pregnancies, I dreamed a dream of my little girls and imagined out their lives. So far, they have both surprised me and surpassed what I expected. They have, of course, exasperated me with unanticipated challenges as well. But I keep dreaming my own dreams for them, clinging to them loosely and giving their lives over to God.

Meanwhile, I'm getting lots of practice in the color purple. Before I tackled Sophia's walls, I made my new baby niece a quilt in the challenging shade. My sister in law, pregnant with her third daughter, decided it was time to bring violet into her household as well. I struggled with the project; it's so much easier to be creative in one's own familiar palette, but when it was done, I loved it. As I love my darling sis-in-law, and my new baby niece Hailey who I've not yet met (she lives several states away).

I hope she will love the color her mommy chose for her, but perhaps she will want Vanilla Milkshake walls when she's nine. We're dreaming dreams for her, our little five-day-old baby, but we still don't really know what she will be like, what she will love. Won't it be exciting to find out.

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