Julia came home yesterday after gymnastics and had a great time. She had a somewhat different day at school because she was moved into a new classroom with a new teacher for the summer. This is always difficult when there is a change. Especially when we finally seemed to get a routine established after her teacher changed four times this year. It was quite difficult.
She has a friend at school who is hot and cold - likes her one minute/won't play with her or be her friend the next. Julia is determined to make the friendship work and always talks about her friend in terms like "I wonder if ______ will be nice today! I hope so!" or "Today at school she was nice. But not all day. She didn't be my friend at the playground."
Today Julia and Riley went upstairs after we got home while Jeremy cooked and I was doing laundry. Riley called down several times really sweetly to tell me to come up. I politely told her that I'd be up in a minute to see what she was doing. She was persistent and I thought she just wanted to show me something she had done.
"C'mon Mom! You'll really want to see this!...Mom - better hurry!... Seriously Mom - you need to get up here."
I finally went upstairs and Riley led me to the playroom where Julia had dropped a dark brown thick marker on the ground. I looked at her legs to find that her left leg was completely colored in the brown marker. Her hands brown as well.
She looked up with somewhat of a smile. I really wasn't sure how to react so I simply smiled and said "Julia, we don't draw on ourselves. Why did you do that?"
Her reply saddened me "(Friend) won't be my friend unless I look like her." Her friend is a beautiful Hispanic girl with dark skin and black hair. Earlier in the year she had told Julia that she'd only be friends if Julia had dark skin and black hair too. Julia has taken this to heart and chose to color her skin.
We talked briefly about how God made her with white skin and blonde hair. That she is beautiful the way that she is. That we don't change to please our friends; our true and real friends will accept us for who we are and not tell us that we have to be/look/act like them. Riley was incredibly sweet and shared things like "Peyton's my friend and she doesn't ask me to change. God made you the way you are, Jules and you're beautiful!"
I brought her downstairs for Jeremy to see. He smirked as I had as well and then we took pictures to remember the occasion. Don't want to send a wrong message, but wanted to capture the moment in case we need to talk more about it again some day.
It's hard enough to raise girls to be confident women who see themselves as beautiful without someone telling us otherwise. Especially at the age of four. My prayer for Julia is that she will find peace and joy in being herself; and accept others as they have been made by God as well.