I suspect now that I have always been a girly-girl but for most of my life I didn’t know it.  I grew up in a good home under the watchful eyes of Dutch immigrants who valued hard work, practicality and resourcefulness far more than they did frivolity and feminine expression.  I have a brother who is 10 years older than me, a sister who is 9 years older than I am and a brother who is 366 days younger than myself.  My older brother and my sister lived in worlds of their own that didn’t really involve me.  I never had a heart to heart conversation with my sister, H, and the only thing I really remember of my older brother J is the occasional tickle torture session he subjected me to.  My sister was married when I was 12 and my brother followed suit the following year.  Thus, my early playmate in life was my younger brother R.

R was a typical brother.  He had no time for dolls or playing house.  The doll passed down to me from my sister very quickly had her hair cut off and her face distorted with markers.  No, we didn’t do girly-girl things.  We were expected to go outside and amuse ourselves.  We built forts, caught frogs, collected beer bottles out of the ditches and went fishing.  Most of the other kids on our country road were my older brother and sister’s age.  When a new family moved into the neighbourhood, any aspirations of playing girl stuff were quickly squelched.  They had three boys.

I didn’t really discover the girly-girl in me until I was in university.  There I met a couple of sisters who were Christians that took me under their wings and tried to mentor me.  The younger of the two had very little money but would save what few pennies she had to buy a magazine called “Victorian Living”.  What I saw on the glossy pages of that publication was a life unlike anything I had even imagined.  Pale-faced beautiful women lived in homes resplendent with Laura Ashley fabrics and laces.  They sauntered the pages wearing long flowing floral dresses and hats of all sorts with fresh flowers on them.  They drank out of dainty tea cups from tables laden with antiques and pretty finger foods.  Their gardens were all of the English sort, wild with roses climbing intricate arbours and secret places for sitting.  I was entranced by that magazine.  It showed me a world that I secretly longed for without even knowing it.

Being in university in those days, there was no money for anything pretty.  For a year, I slept on a broken fold out couch.  I then moved on to sleeping on comforters on the floor.  That was upgraded by borrowing a bed and purchasing a $10 beat up dresser for the few things I called my own.  I grew my hair long not having the money it took to go to a hair dresser and have any kind of style.  My room mate, the poor sister’s sibling, had a good job and loved the nicer things in life.  Her half of the room had Monet prints, lacy, ruffly bed linens and perfumed sprays that nearly made me pass out from unbelief when I found out how much they cost.  She hated my side of the room and pleaded with me to at least buy a doily to hide the ugliness of the top of that beat up dresser.  I accommodated her.  That doily was the first thing I had ever purchased merely for decorative purposes.

I went on to marry a wonderful fella from an all-boy family.  He loved, loved, loved the fact that I was so practical and thrifty.  He was thrilled that I didn’t need manicures, coiffed hair or weekend getaways to be happy.  He always gushed about me as though I was amazingly special.  I didn’t see it but I liked that he did.  God blessed that union with two sons.  The homes we lived in weren’t anything special to look at but they were filled with love, peace and joy.  My man didn’t believe in being materialistic.  Our mission was to help those less fortunate than ourselves and there were many of them.

When God called my husband home, I began increasingly to see my girly-girl nature.  I worried about how someone like me could ever raise sons on my own and have them turn into manly men.  My worries proved to be fruitless.  D and P are now approaching adolescence and you couldn’t find two more masculine boys.  D is pleading for a pellet gun and is eager to build a smoke bomb from scratch.  P regularly comes home with frogs or toads in hand and often looks like Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoon strip.

I am now en route to getting married again.  True to form, my new man comes from an all boy family and is thrilled to have a fiancee that is “not a lot of work”.  He too likes that I can enjoy simple things in life and that I don’t seem to need what so many women apparently feel that they are entitled to.  That’s true but I still have those girly-girl notions deep within me.  DA’s mom sees it.  She knows I like pretty things.  I like to think that God sees it too.

A few days ago, I got to travel to DA’s grandparent’s home.  They now need extended care and are living in a long-term care nursing home.  Their home is up for sale and its contents are being given away to family and friends.  There are things in that home that nobody seems to want.  Among those things were these:

11 teacups with matching saucers that could have been lifted right off the pages of one of those “Victorian Living” magazines.  Since nobody wants them, they’ve been offered to me.  Imagine that!  The girl who has never had a tea party in her life now has 11 gorgeous teacups with matching saucers.  It kind of makes me want to put on a flowery dress, run out and buy a ridiculous hat, sit myself down amongst some flowers and sip something with my gloved pinky in the air even if it is just tea for one.  I could do that 11 days in a row and drink from a different cup each day!  It may sound stupid to most of the people I’ve known in my life, but I’m just tickled pink with these girly-girl additions to my home.