Sunday in the Car with Princess

Today I had the following conversation with my daughter in the car on the way to church.

Songbird: “So, some of the people who commented on my newspaper piece liked the part at the end where I didn’t use a male pronoun when I wrote about who you might be with some day. You know, to make it more inclusive.”

The Princess: (Nods slowly.)  “That’s good. I don’t really know *what* I am yet. I’m too young! And I don’t understand why we need all these categories. Can’t people just be who they are?”

Songbird: “Maybe by the time you grow up they will be able to do that. I guess we have categories partly because some people who are afraid of anyone being different want to make categories to help themselves feel safe. And it might also be partly because people who feel like they are in a smaller category want to identify with other people who are like them.”

The Princess: “How can you know *what* you are until you meet someone you love?”

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There are, of course, many possible answers to her question, most having to do with attractions that she is clearly not feeling yet, or not aware of how to, forgive me, categorize. Her perspective remains romantic. She is 12. She dresses modestly and cautioned me about a shirt I tried on at Old Navy: “Well, maybe if you’re out socially, but I don’t think it works well with your profession.”

On the way home from church we discussed both the characters on Naruto and the state of affairs regarding Barbie and how pink is no longer that fashion doll’s automatic color. The notion that the breasts on 1950’s Barbies and brides were engineered to be high and pointy was not deemed a fit topic for mother-daughter conversation. My daughter is both fashion consultant and philosopher, currently well-placed in the 7th-grade, a person of high principles with regard to valuing the diversity of human experience, except, perhaps, where her mother is concerned.

Her brothers know what they want to be and do in their grown-up lives, and one of them is so close to living his, it frightens me a little bit. I wonder who she will be, this girl of ours?

11 thoughts on “Sunday in the Car with Princess

  1. I am so impressed with the conversation you and your daughter had. You have an openness that is so helpful. And she sounds like she’s being true to herself, as she know herself to be right now. yay

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  2. I wonder about our Genuine Beautiful Drummer Girl in the same way, Songbird. Like the Princess, she seems to have so much wisdom. I keep hoping the world is going to be able to see it like we do…

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