Thursday, August 18, 2011

Soar, Little Bird

I return to the theme of watching my now adult children flying on their own, triggered to write by the crazy success my daughter is currently experiencing.
In case you have not heard me shouting from the rooftops, my daughter, Zana Bayne , is getting a great deal of attention for her leather designs currently being worn (again and again!) by Lady Gaga and her dancers - on tour, on television, in the New York Times, and now on Gaga's latest video released this week!

With her success, I am asked repeatedly how she did it and how I did it, and the answers are pretty simple. She, Zana, did it by working her tail off, by having an idea and pursuing it, by treating her ideas and her work and her career as if they were important and persisting in being herself unabashedly. (This is, after all, the same person who at age 8 put a yellow post-it on our home mirror saying "be yourself".)

What did I do as a parent? I gave her the room to be herself, encouraged her creativity, answered her questions when asked, gave her a role model of a working woman confident in her own roles as professional and mom. I never pushed her toward a particular calling, but watched and nurtured what she wanted.

I believe strongly that our job as parents is to not screw up our precious little progeny. Watching Zana soar right now only strengthens that belief. The world of leather and Gaga is foreign to me; it is Zana's world, not mine, with styles I can admire without them being mine, representatives of a younger generation and our future.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Angelina Ballerina

We've all seen them, those little girls out and about leading their busy lives while rocking their tutus. I find myself smiling when I see one, imagining what fantasy might be playing out in their minds, compelling them to dress for the day in a tutu (maybe over jeans, or tights, or a diaper, or over their dress). Princess? Ballerina? Free spirit?

I, for one, loved reading the stories of Angelina Ballerina to my daughter when she was little. Angelina is a strong-willed chubby mouse who loves to dance, who breaks things in the process, and who works toward her dream of being a ballerina, all the time in her tutu. Little girls were wearing tutus way before Angelina, but the message that a girl can be anything she wants to be AND wear a tutu really encouraged the appeal of this indispensable wardrobe staple for many little girls.

And so, fast forward to a week ago, when I stumbled upon this wonderful black tulle skirt on sale at a favorite store. Off came my sensible and beloved Eileen Fisher tunic and on came this skirt, channeling my inner Angelina. I wore the skirt to dinner that night, and again to a party this past weekend, feeling flirty, strong, and absolutely myself. While I have resisted wearing it every day of the week, it has taken every bit of my adult willpower to do so!

(skirt by Lilith)