This week I'm honored to be guest posting over at Kelli Woodford's place, Chronicles of Grace. Every week I help her and a handful of other writers host the Unforced Rhythms linkup. Click over there at the end of this post to continue reading and visit other posts in the linkup.
He’s a heavyset, gray-haired man, short and jovial who honed in on my daughter, tall, slender and serious.
“Smile!” he commanded and she obeyed.
Standing nearby I was overcome with a strong desire to whack that man, not really, but just mostly in that mama-bear, leave-my-kid-alone-kind-of-way.
I too was a tall, slender and serious girl. I cannot tell you the number of times men, mostly in passing, reminded me to smile.
“Smile!” they’d say, passing me in the mall, in the college lunch line where I worked, on the street.
Sometimes it felt like a harmless flirtation, but underneath all of those commands to change the way my face looked, I got the message that it wasn’t ok to be me. To be a woman, young or old, who rests serene in her own quiet seriousness is to shirk cultural expectations of the bubbly, giggly girl who lights up the world around her with her pearly whites.
I took my daughter to the Dr. this week after she’d suffered through a baffling array of symptoms. Was it allergies, a cold, a stomach bug, Strep? We had no idea.
She sat alone on the high examining table wrapped in a paper gown while the Dr. tried to puzzle things out. Every time we visit the Dr. she worries about needing a strep test. She hates the test, gags every time and occasionally vomits on whoever happens to be administering it.
Finally the dreaded moment came and her eyes grew wide, as if to say, “Really, Mom? This again?”