Every day on the streets of Nairobi I see nice dresses for my daughter. Things I would have picked for a younger me. In my eyes, she would look so beautiful. I picture her in pink or purple with some glitter and nice boots. Sometimes I even google hairstyles for her and get home excited with the news. Once in a while I have tried the ‘close your eyes till I tell you to open’ as I bring out a sweater. By the way, sometimes I have been very broke but got her some sneakers just because I thought I’m making her day.
Three things happen when I buy her anything to wear. When she is in good moods, She will either laugh and ask, ‘Is this mine, or yours? ‘ we then end up laughing at me. Or she will honestly explain how she has outgrown ‘Sophia the First’ and ‘Dora the Explorer’. When she is in bad moods, she will take it and say ‘thank you’ but I will never see her with the dress or shoes. They will be kept so well in her room never to be looked at.
But why then is she always trying on my clothes and shoes and putting on my sweaters? Why do my clothes fascinate her if she doesn’t like my taste? Not once or twice she has blessed herself with my stuff. She starts by saying she is trying it on, then I see it well hang in her room. (That’s one benefit of being the same height) She tries out my heels and wonders how I survive in them, but just by trying them out I know she likes them.
I have however mastered the art of self-control against buying her things in her absence. I would rather give her the money to keep so that we go shopping together. I am tired of wasting money, buying things that only look good to me. The results? Knowing her better and bonding. Sometimes I pick out something for her, she says no and goes for the exact opposite colour and design. It hurts me at times, I wonder, how will she look like in that? But it ends up looking so good on her. Of course she knows the boundaries of her dressing.
I have been silently accepting that she is a full human being. Just because she doesn’t prefer my tastes and preferences, does not mean she is abnormal. Honestly, I enjoy it when she is in charge, it means she has been trained well and grown up to make her own sobber choices.