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In Defense of Pink

Photograph by Leah Campbell

I became a mother through a fairly unusual set of circumstances. I’d been earning my foster care license, with the intention of fostering pre-teen and teenage girls. But a week before my certification became final, I met a woman who was desperately searching for someone to take her baby.

After 15 minutes of talking, she asked me to adopt the little girl she was still carrying inside her womb. It was crazy. And random. And, honestly, it seemed too good to be true.

But a week later, I was in the delivery room, catching that baby who would go on to become mine.

The week before my daughter was born was a whirlwind. One of my most vivid memories was the panic attack I had while surveying the explosion of hand-me-downs my friends had shown up with.

Everything was pink. Like a bottle of Pepto-Bismol had erupted across my living room.

I’ve never been much of a girly girl. I don’t wear jewelry, I’m happiest when I'm outside and dirty, and I absolutely despise the color pink. I actually always thought I’d be a boy mom, for all those reasons and more. I figured I would have an easier time connecting with a little boy, and that I could never have anything in common with a girly girl.

So, seeing my house overtaken by pink, as I was still trying to wrap my head around this new impending reality, it was all just a bit too much.

I panicked. We’re talking tears, hyperventilating and trying to figure out ways to get out of this whole thing. Because clearly I was not meant to be a mom, and I definitely was not meant to be a girl mom.

Thankfully, my daughter was born a few days later and all my fears washed away as soon as I saw her.

But then, this sweet child of mine morphed into one the girliest girly girls you’ve ever met. All the things I despise—pink, jewelry, Barbies—she somehow was just born loving. Her favorite shoes are a pair of pink cowgirl boots I’ve now had to replace three times. She rides a princess bike with a princess helmet and she gravitates toward anything pink in her closet. She has a more expansive jewelry collection than I do, owns several tutus and goes to school in a princess costume at least once a week.

And … I love it. To my absolute surprise, I have found that I adore watching my girly girl go all out. Not because I love any of these things myself (I still cringe whenever I catch her watching the Barbie show on her iPad) but because I love how happy it makes her.

Plus, I’m a big fan of the fact that my princess-loving girl doesn’t hesitate to get into the creek to pull out a fish or roll down a muddy hill in her otherwise fancy clothes. She’s a girly girl, but she’s not afraid of getting dirty. That, I can live with.

Pink is still my least favorite color, but it’s OK, because I’m not the one who has to wear it. And while I laugh sometimes at how extra my daughter can be when she dresses herself (head-to-toe perfection, with a tiara to match), I happily put on my jeans and a hoodie and head out the door with her in all her girly glory.

This is just who she is. It certainly wasn’t something she got from me, or the result of any gender norms being pushed down her throat. It’s just the person my little girl was always going to be.

And, because I love her completely, how could I possibly not love that?

Image via Leah Campbell

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