"Mommy? Guess what? Andrew gave me a flower."
Cati smiles her sweet smile.
" Yes, I know. He was so sweet to give that to you."
"Mommy, why did he give me a flower?"
"Well, honey. He likes you. You are his friend. It is something someone does to show they care. Do you remember when Daddy gave me flowers last week? He did that because he loves me."
"Yep. Because you are mahweed."
"You got it, sweetie."
I glance back at her to smile.
Suddenly, Cati sits up straight and loudly says,
"I am mahweed too!"
"You are? To who?"
Cati suddenly smiles a shy, adorable smile.
What a precious conversation to have with my daughter last week. Incidentally, she popped the head off of the flower within minutes of receiving it. And yet as this moment is fresh in my mind, I know full well that the man of her life will someday, no longer be Daddy.
She will see a boy ducking his head and smiling shyly as she catches him looking at her. She will notice a boy and suddenly think he is special. More special then a friend. And even more then her Daddy.
And it will be during this time that I pray I have weaved a love of virtue and purity into the heart of my child. For BOTH of my girls. Because like a flower, purity is delicate, needs to be handled with care, and is short lived if we do not nurture and care for it.
The beginning of this is NOW. My girls will be 2 and 4 this summer. And I have been trying to teach Cati modesty in a way that will not rob her of innocence but will help her embrace a femininity that is godly and pure.
She loves dresses. But she plays, sits, and hangs out like she is not wearing one. And there is something so precious about being oblivious to this. This childlike innocence of not knowing she is beautiful, not knowing social skills and norms of society. She actually mooned me last night and would have been fall out of my chair funny if I did not instantly thank God that I was her audience and not a little boy at preschool or a male volunteer at church.
So I have begun teaching her to sit like a lady. I felt so stupid saying this phrase. It felt old fashioned and something my grandmother would say. But when I said it, it felt right. I try to teach her to cross her legs at the ankle while sitting in a chair, in her car seat, or on a couch. She consistently shows me she is sitting like a lady and it warms my heart that she is embracing such a simple lesson in modesty. She feels proud. And I believe, to her, it feels RIGHT. Now we do need to work on her running to the front door like a streaker after her bath when she hears a fire truck go by. But these are baby steps here.
This is such a heady responsibility for me as a mom. My goal is to leave a heritage of Christ in the children God has given me. And I see the challenges ahead since I fell so far of the mark as a teen. I really struggled as a young girl to be accepted, wanted, and loved. It was a typical growing up time but I made poor choices and it was always at the expense of my self worth. Sadly, my self worth originated from the opinion of others. Even if it meant for me to be objectified or lusted after.
It pains me to remember how I exchanged purity for acceptance. Which was not really acceptance at all. It was traded for momentary lust of the flesh. I must confess that my life before Christ was a series of bumbling, chaotic encounters with the world. Life was a pinball machine and I allowed circumstances to pull back like a lever and fling me into a series of events that had me going back and forth until I almost hit the bottom only to have another enticement fling me right back into the chaos again.
I will someday have to tell my daughters about what I gave up. What I could not give my husband. But most of all, for what I took away from other prospective husbands, prospective fathers, sons of other women. Do you know what I am talking about? Think about it. I am not talking about just sex. How about the words I offered freely? The way I dressed. They way I would look at someone. All of it did not belong to whatever man I gave them to. They belonged to my husband. They are precious and I had become so saturated with this way of living, I became desensitized.
Now that I am a child of God, and an ambassador for Jesus Christ, I want to pass on a different heritage to my girls. One where they honor God by honoring their bodies, the way they dress, the way they behave, the way they live for Christ. And if I had a son, I would be passionate about teaching this too.
My Sunday school teacher in college had 10 kids. I think they have more now and may have adopted. But a memory that stands out for me is that this man COURTED HIS DAUGHTERS. Is that not amazing? He courted them. He treated them the way he wanted a future husband to treat them. And he started early so that they would settle for NOTHING less. He took them on Father/Daughter Dates, opening doors, exemplifying chivalry. What a precious gift this father gave to his girls.
And my husband does the same thing. He wants them to feel...Valued. Cherished. Loved. Special.
Which is why it warms my hear that Cati wants to marry her Daddy.
And as much as my girls like to wear my clothes and dress like Mommy, I too want to be an example of holiness to them. Seeking to live a life that pleases Christ and embraces purity in a world that has forgotten a love of virtue.
Does this resonate with any of you?
I am linking this post up to:
Mom's Standing Together for Modesty over at Home's Where my Heart Is.
Today, Erin has launched this special Monday column as a way to get the word out on an issue near and dear to her heart. And mine. I want to support her by contributing to such a noble endeavor. So peek in on her as she begins Modesty on Monday's over at her blog.