Thursday, April 10, 2014

Moral Quandry

So this morning I read an article about a wonderful young lady who was so disturbed by the undergarment options she saw when she took her thirteen year old sister to the mall to go bra shopping, that she began a Kickstart campaign to create her own line of bras for 11 to 15 year olds.  Yellowberry's  bras are brightly colored, without metal, wires, or padding.  They're age appropriate and not at all sexualized like so many other lingerie options targeted to young girls - and like clothes in general that are targeted to that age group.

I am always on the lookout for clothes that fit Missy that weren't designed with a 15 year old in mind or meant for a 5 year old.  Missy is stuck right in that "tween" market, on the verge of 11 and (in my biased opinion) getting lovelier each day, developing curves, not wanting to look like a little girl but also having a mother unwilling to let her look like a streetwalker.  She's nowhere near ready to shop in the juniors department but she's getting to the point of outgrowing the "girls" department.  I've been very lucky with Justice.  Because although taking my daughter into "girl heaven" with all the sparkle and fuzzy and stuffed animals and everything with initials all over it, one thing Justice does is carry bigger sizes in very age appropriate clothes.  Rarely do I find anything there that I tell Missy looks too old on her.  Yes, the clothes (and all the accessories) tend to be more on the expensive side, but when you can hit a good sale or the clearance rack, or have their "J bucks", you can get some good deals.

So here's my moral dilemma, I like Yellowberry's idea. I like their goal.  I like what they stand for.  What I don't like, is their cost.  I don't want to spend $40 on a bra for myself!  But for my 11 year old?!  When she's likely going to be in a different size in a few months?  Now, if Yellowberry were the only option for non-sexualized bras for girls, then that would be one thing.  But they're not.  Sears, WalMart, Targer, Kohls, etc, all have they same style of bra for girls, at a far cheaper price.  Does that mean they're cheaper quality?  Probably.  But at the same time, we're talking about a temporary garment.  Why spend a permanent price for a temporary garment?

Yes, I know, Yellowberry's garments are made in America and aren't coming from China or some such place that probably employs 4 year olds in a sweatshop.  But unfortunately, that doesn't negate the price tag.  For those who can afford it, great.  But not everyone can.  So here I am, wondering if I should scrape up the money for the moral right, or do I keep doing what I've been doing and support the cause in another way?

To be continued......

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lessons Learned

My daughter has been taking Taekwondo for 4 years now.  Not long ago she earned her first degree black belt.  One of the things we learned early on in her TKD career was that she truly enjoyed tournaments.  Now, tournaments are a very long day.  Well, they don't have to be.  But even as an orange belt, she enjoyed going early and watching the competitions, the weapons, the creatives, the extreme divisions.  And I watched her eyes light up as the competitors did their flips and tricks.  Recently, she decided that her goal was to become a state champion.  And she also wanted to start competing with the bo staff.  Enter the crazy expense, equipment, private lessons, extra practice time, and stress.

This weekend was Missy's first weapons competition.  She was competing in 4 events in total: Creative Weapons, Traditional Weapons, Traditional Forms, and Sparring.  My husband's division was called at 8 a.m. which meant we were up at 6 a.m. and on the road at 7.  (He did pretty damn well himself, too!!)  Missy's Creative Weapons division was called at 10:15.  I thought the stress might eat her alive.  Not only was it the first time she'd ever competed in this event but she also ended up competing against the current world champion.  And he was phenomenal.  But even with the butterflies in her belly and her nails bitten down, her performance was fantastic.  She was focused and energetic and she was absolutely amazing.  Even her instructor made sure to tell her that it was the best form he'd seen her do.  

At the end of the day, she left with 3 2nd place medals and a 1st place medal.  But that was not what made me the most proud.  I saw my Missy decide on a goal and do everything within her power to achieve it.  I saw her put in the practice time without complaint.  At the tournament I watched her helping some of her classmates practice before their divisions were called.  I saw her overcome her fears, no matter how great they were.  I saw her calm the nerves of kids who had never competed before.  I watched her cheer on the girls in her division that she was competing against.  I watched her being a leader.  

For Missy, Taekwondo goes so far beyond front kicks and back fists.  What she learns from martial arts is a set of life lessons that will carry her into her adulthood.  And for that, I am truly grateful.  Grateful to the instructors who believe in her and encourage her and teach her all of these wonderful lessons.  I am thankful that my daughter has learned these things.  But most of all, I am so proud of the confidence she displays because of Taekwondo.  I wasn't sure I'd ever see that sort of confidence.  But it's there!  It is truly there!

Missy with 8th degree black belt Chief Master M.K. Lee