“This product has been made by hand with love.
Some variations in color and pattern may occur,
making each piece
unique and special.”
The above statement was imprinted on an elephant-shaped tag attached to a purse purchased at Cost Plus World Market. If babies came with a manuel, I think this statement should be on the front cover. In large font. All-capitals.
We encourage our children to use their imaginations, to be different. We remind them they don’t have to be like everyone else. We marvel at their creations - whether it’s a Lego structure, a drawing, or a fort made in the living room. Then they get older, and there’s a shift, a need to conform and be more like everyone else. Wearing what other kids are wearing. Carrying the same type of backpack or lunchbox.
And as children grow into young adults, they all suddenly look so much the same. A group of girls out shopping with their hair styled the same way, same pattern on their too-short skirts, nails polished in the same color. They could be any girl.
Even as an adult in my thirties, I have to remind myself that I am different. Decidely so. It is not most people who wear rings on eight out of ten fingers. Not most people who begin their voicemail message with “Aloha.” Many times, I still fall into the trap and compare myself to other women. Women with flatter stomachs, firmer thighs, and clearer complexions. Women who walk with confidence exuding the air of “I am special, you should look at me.” And we do, we look. But then I realize, there’s not much that’s special about them. Most of these women could be any woman.
And I’m not any woman. I am me, this woman.
The challenge now is to encourage my son to retain all that makes him “Ryan.” The boy who loves to spell and exaggerate each letter as he recites the letters from the Cheerios box while we shop at the market. The child who becomes frustrated and will say, “No, Sorry.” Translation - “No, that’s not right. Now apologize, Mommy, for doing it wrong.” My little guy who walks backwards and says he’s “moonwalking.”
Because my son is the ultimate handmade product. He was made with love. And he is certainly unique and special.