When my husband and I were married 12 years ago, I had a dog named Sami. She was the cutest little 8-pound Papillon-Labrador mix. I would put her in my briefcase and hide her under my desk at work at the Jerusalem Post.
Then one day I found out I was pregnant. It took me about two weeks after giving birth to no longer have the time or space for that dog. To be fair, we lived in a tiny trailer in Gush Etzion, but suddenly my every thought was about how to teach my 2-week-old to read and whether he was eating enough, sleeping comfortably and achieving the perfect balance between tummy and back time. My parents adopted Sami, who we flew all the way from Israel to her new home in Kansas City.
I loved having a boy. I used to say I related to boys better than to girls; who has time for all of the emotion, I would smile. Boys are simple. I like to play with trucks, to run around and get muddy. I never liked dollhouses. And pink — ooh.
But then I had a girl. And another girl. And another girl. I can’t say it took me all of two weeks to have no time or space for my boy; he’s still as important as he ever was. Yet, it took me all of two minutes to make room for my daughter.
And that was despite the fact that she was everything I expected from a young woman. On Monday, she liked peas. On Tuesday, she spit them out all over her tray … and my walls! She didn’t like the feel of certain fabrics. She never could decide in which position she wanted to lie. One day she needed hugs. The next she squirmed as if to say, “Get off of me. I need my space.”
But she also totally transformed me. By 4, Netanya had already grown into the little lady she is today. And I, who swore I would never buy my daughter toy jewelry or fuss over lace skirts and pink sweaters, snaps pictures every time she gets dressed for Shabbat.
Every time we walk into Target together, Netanya and I head right for the shoes. “Mom, Netanya has 10 pairs of shoes,” my son moans.
My daughter and I just roll our eyes and check out the latest arrivals. Then we check out headbands and hair bows. We hold hands and talk about the manicure we hope to get later in the afternoon.
When I’m getting dressed for work, I spritz my perfume behind her ears. And I love it when she says, “Mommy, you look beautiful. I hope someday I can dress like you.”
I never thought I would wear pink. But two of my daughters have penchants for pink and purple (and all things poofy and sparkly). And sometimes we coordinate our outfits. No longer do I see pink as a “girly” sign of weakness, but as a pretty color — that women make the choice to wear. And I am proud to be a woman.
This morning, my 3-year-old came downstairs asking for a bottle.
“I want a pink top,” she said. “I don’t like blue.”
Does pink really make the milk taste better?
You know what, I think it does.
Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief — firstname.lastname@example.org