Fairytale endings, role models and a queen

fuseI stood in the kitchen arguing with my mother about fairy tales, neither of us was going to budge. After spending the week, she had noticed Little Son was starting to question what and who was good, what made a person do bad things. She merely suggested I read some fairy tales to the kids as an easy way to illustrate good and evil, right and wrong. I was filled with indignation. The fairy tales I grew up on give children, especially girls, the wrong idea about the world we live in. In real life, pretty only gets you so far. You have to kiss more than one frog (or throw them against the wall) to find the prince. And good doesn’t always triumph. But on the other hand, it is impossible to avoid fairy tales all together.

She is rolling her eyes, I am spluttering. Mom thinks I worry too much, “parents are the role models Melanie, not storybook characters.”

Just As You Are

Bodacious is only 1, and I have been careful to not “princess out” her room or clothes. If she falls, I mostly let her pick herself up. She prefers trucks, Lego bocks and rock-n-roll. Ripping out bows and clips, she likes her hair to look Neil Young-esque. One of her favorite pastimes is shaking her head back and forth, whipping her babyfine locks across her face in true Rock God fashion. I love it. I want a daughter who is self-reliant, tough and unafraid to be the person God intends for her to be.

I also want a daughter who is sweet and loving. Baby Girl sings with her brother, and loves on her doggies with (mostly) tender hands. If she finds magic and wonder in her everyday, I will be glad. I want her to have imagination, empathy and kindness in her, to be a friend when someone needs one. I want her to be loving and capable of receiving love. When she finds her true love, I want her to be ready. Because sometimes, Prince Charming does come along. I should know, I married him.

Having a Ball

Recently, I watched with fascination as the Facebook comments rolled in. A friend wanted to know what was less detrimental — mermaids, faeries or princesses — as the theme for her daughter’s upcoming birthday party? That’s a million-dollar question. As women, do we eschew Ariel and Cinderella, finding and being empowered role models instead? Or as mothers, do we let our children decide who they love and emulate?

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A tribute to my sweet friend Jim McClatchy

jimThis was a sad week for me, my sweet friend Jim McClatchy passed away. Though I have known it was coming, the grief still took me by surprise. A lot of folks know Jim from back in the day when he operated McClatchy Bros., Inc. trucking company. Others knew him through his work with the Midland Jaycees and the community boards he served.

I had the good fortune to meet him six and a half years ago at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. I started working there part-time after the birth of Little Son, and it was not unusual to see him coming into the church several days a week. He was the president of his Sunday school class for two decades, a tireless volunteer for the church’s Building on Faith capital campaign and construction project and loved helping out with the Area Missions Outreach Services (AMOS) food pantry. When Jim came to the church, he always made sure to stop by everyone’s office to check in on them or tell us a story from his week. He was a fastidious man, never a hair out of place, perfect clothes. Jim was kind and genuine, a true gentleman, quick to laugh and share a smile.

The thing that I loved the most about Jim – well, besides the fact that he always called me “young lady” – was how much he loved other people. If Jim told you he was glad to see you, he meant it. If he offered to do something for you, consider it done. He did all things with sincerity and because he loved serving others.

Jim also loved his life, especially his beautiful wife Beverly. Beverly is an amazing hostess and cook, and he was puffed up like a pride soufflé when he stopped by my office to tell me that she and a friend were publishing their very own cook book. Jim was quite the dancer as well. A few years ago, the Hubs and I were literally shamed off the floor at a wedding when the McClatchys decided to cut a rug. Man, could they move, and you couldn’t miss the smile on his face as they wove and spun their way across the room. He took great pride in their home and enjoyed helping Beverly around the house and yard. Anyone who says men don’t like to clean never met Jim, and he taught me his tricks for having sparkling windows.

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