As the mother of three growing boys, my world seems to grow less and less feminine each day. I am surrounded by sweaty gym clothes, basketballs, footballs, dirty socks, lifted toilet seats; and I often dodge Nerf gun bullets. Where is my pink? My sparkles? I need some “girl” time! I adore my boys; I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the whole wide world. But two weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to spend the week with my dear friend’s two daughters while she and her husband traveled out of the country, and I didn’t blink twice at the offer! Leaving my husband as a “single” father for the week, I packed my zebra print bag (which sports my name monogrammed in hot pink), and I was out the door! I couldn’t wait to spend the week submerged in nail polish, hair bows, make-up, scented lotions, and secrets!
Caraline, age twelve, has a BIG personality. She has so much energy that, I get tired just watching her. She creates a laughter deep within me like no one else can. She has a softer side but is careful to guard her heart. She is very creative and also incredibly smart. She might just rule the world one day.
Abigail, age fifteen, is absolutely beautiful, both inside and outside. Her smile is enough to melt your heart. Abby is sensitive, kind, and compassionate. She is also silly, spontaneous and sporadic. She is strong in her faith and passionate about helping others. She is multi-talented, and when she sings, you cannot help but be drawn into the richness of her charm.
My week with the girls was good for my soul. I felt young and energetic! We laughed until we cried (and one of us even wet our pants, but I won’t divulge which one of us has the weaker bladder). We ate junk food, shopped till we dropped, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, gushing over boys and watching chick flicks.
What we did not do was remember to feed the animals, bring in the mail, and in one of my OCD moments, I ruined their couch pillows by attempting to wash them in the washing machine.
There was another mishap when one of us (it’s still being debated which one of us is the guilty party) threw a roll of paper towels on top of a burning candle, causing the roll to go up in flames. I was quick to put the fire out and all was back to normal (as normal as it could be with me in charge)!
Perhaps my most favorite moment of the week was not in the silliness we generated; it was not in the laughter we boasted; nor was it in the impromptu activities we created. Rather it was found in watching these two delightful girls give up their time and their hearts to volunteer, as they do each Wednesday evening, for a local children’s program where they teach the word of God to the inner city kids. Caraline and Abigail’s mother introduced the program to a local church, and alongside their mother these girls have contributed to its growth. What spoke to me was that their mother was gone this particular week, a perfect opportunity for the girls to take the week off and do something for themselves, and yet they continued their mother’s work without a second thought of bowing out. I watched amazed as Abigail and Caraline took over the evenings schedule, following the outline of their mother’s labor.
Looking back, most of our laughter and goofiness was wrapped up within the evening as we loved on these tiny children who want and need nothing more than positive attention.
I cherish the week that I shared with Abigail and Caraline; a week that allowed me to frolic in all things pink. But more importantly it was a week where I was challenged to be less about self and more about others.
And at the end of that week, although I was anxious and thankful to return to my boys, I realized how proud I am to be a woman; because even dressed in pink with polished nails, we are the caretakers in the world!