Monday, April 15, 2013

Me and My Bathrobe: Thoughts on Being a Woman

After a rare nap yesterday, I had trouble falling asleep.  For some reason, I began to ruminate on my bathrobe.

I've mentioned it before.  It's like my second skin.  My security blanket.  The next best thing to actually being in bed.

I seem to hoard robes.  I have four hanging in my bathroom and a few pretty ones that rarely leave my closet--those feminine, satin ones I received as a bride-to-be.

Know the robe, know the woman. Probably should make a Pinterest image out of that one.  'Cause I can't stitch it on a pillow.

As a little girl, I had a few robes given to me over the years for Christmas.  I really didn't know what to do with them.  The tv shows I watched showed adults always throwing one on in a panic to answer the door in the middle of the night.  Since I had no reason to do this, the robes went unused.

The first time I needed to use one was to wear as I sprinted down the hall of my girl's dorm as a freshman.  Communal showers, people.  That's real living.  I had my shower caddy stocked with Pantene and Crest toothpaste, my Barbie pink sandals (a shower necessity) and my white terry cloth robe. I still have that one.  I've long lost the belt, but my terry cloth robe still proudly hangs beside my mercifully private shower.

That robe reminds me of my time as an undergraduate living on campus at the University of Florida.  My biggest worries were making to my 10 o'clock class and trying to write a 10 page essay on no sleep.  Really gut wrenching stuff like that.  I made lifelong friends and learned a few helpful things both in and out of the classroom.  I was still basically clueless about life, but I stayed out of trouble thanks to Campus Crusade (read: God), graduated, and had a great time.  That's ages 18-21 in a nutshell.  As Britney says, I was "not a girl...not yet a woman."

Sorry for all the teeny bopper quotes.  Such is my brain.  Sometimes Britney and Miley stumble on some true stuff.

My second grown up robe is a to-the-floor creme satin robe lined with fleece. It's warm and pretty.  My sister noted that it's a nod to Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. (Go watch it if you've missed it.  Classic witty repartee).  That robe took me through my young married, before-babies years to the 1am & 4am graveyard shift of newbornhood with Jeremiah.  The pocket's torn, probably from a bottle being stuffed inside, and it can be obnoxious to climb the stairs as it drags.  But it's special to me.  It marks my passage from girl to young woman to woman.

My third and favorite robe enters here.  I received it when Sarah was born.  It took the lionshare of hard work-- two babies under age 2! And now, three under age 5.  It has literally grown with me and my stomach over the last few years.  While I have an ever-vascilating pant size (as my closet will attest), my pink robe always fits.  My most recent robe is a knee length number, great for spring and summer.  Sarah likes to use the belt as a tug-of-war/tie 'em up/jump rope.

At its best, for me, being a woman means a growing sense of community with fellow believers.  Women I admire and respect, even and especially if we do things differently.  Isn't that a nice change?  As girls, we get so bent out of shape if we aren't  j-u-s-t  like our best friend or the prettiest girl in class. And it turns out that the person we put on a pedestal was just as insecure as we were.

I don't think marriage or children or even age make one a woman.  Biblical womanhood, as I understand it, is a reflection of God's character-- his tenderness, care, and compassion.  Again, while neither marital status nor motherhood define womanhood, those experiences have certainly provided opportunities for me to experience God's heart.

At this point in my life, I'm comfortable enough (most days) in my own skin to compliment myself when I've made an effort to dress up and look nice.  I'm okay to introduce myself to a stranger and try to make them feel welcome.  I don't have to be the "it" girl, the one who has it all figured out, scheduled, color coordinated, and cross referenced.  Though if she exists, I think we'd be friends. I think that's growing up. Women in community.

A community made even better if your friends stay in their robes til 10 a.m. Women who pray for you, unprompted, who text and call, who give hugs when you start snot-crying in public. Secure women. Flawed. Genuine. I'm so glad to wear this new garment.

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