My children were just in a play put on by the local college. The play was "101 Dalmations". It has always been one of my favorites. The kids all practiced and worked and auditioned. Anya was a chihuahua, Kayla was a poodle (french, I might add) and Miracle was the woman, Anita, in the play. They each had lines and costumes and they had so much fun! Everyday was an adventure with laughter and smiles, so you can imagine my consternation when Miracle came home one day with tears in her eyes.
"What is the matter, darling?"
"Doesn't look like nothing to me?" (My standard reply to that answer).
"Something happened at play practice today and I don't know what to do about it."
"So, would you like a little help with that nothing?"
She smiled through her tear blurred eyes, and then told me how her costume did not have sleeves.
It was three fingers wide across her shoulders, but there were no sleeves.
Now, I don't know what rules anyone else has in their families. I don't want anyone else to think that I am judging them because their choice is different than mine. I don't know how you feel about sleeveless. I sometimes don't even know how I feel about it. But this is a choice we have made for these little girls.
We have decided that, for our family, it works best if we all have the same dresscode. I believe that if I raise them to go to the Temple, they will go. I want them to have those blessings and not have to buy new wardrobes on that most sacred of days. So, from the time they are born, my little girls have not worn sleeveless dresses or two piece swimming suits. They have not worn shorts above their knees. As you can see, we take our modesty very seriously around here.
This is the difficulty that Miracle found herself in. The costume she was supposed to wear was sleeveless. She asked me what she should do. So, we had a discussion about plays and costumes and how sometimes on stage we had to dress differently than we would normally. I talked to her about the world and how different people had different ideas about what is modest and what is not. Than, asked her how she felt.
She told me that she has a freckle on her arm that no one has ever seen. It is right at the top of her shoulder and is covered by her sleeves. She calls this one of her modesty freckles. Then she told me how she has another freckle just above her knee and how that freckle has never been seen because her shorts, skirts or pants always cover it. She explained to me that both of her freckles could be seen in her costume.
I asked if the hem could be lengthened or if she could wear a shirt under it to cover. She said "no". She told me that the dress was a very dressy dress and it couldn't be altered easily. I asked her what she wanted to do about it and she replied that she did not know and needed to think about it for awhile. I told her that it was up to her and I would support her even if she needed to wear that costume, or even if she ended up with a different part.
Life went on for a week or so, and I did not hear anything more about her freckles or the costume. I am ashamed to admit that I was afraid to ask. You see, I really wanted her to be in the play and I was afraid if she told them she would not wear the costume, they would take her out of that role in the play. I really want my girls to have the experience of theatre, music and dancing. It can bring such joy into their lives.
We went to the play and onto the stage walked my little, young woman, Miracle. Wearing the costume that was originally made for her, with a few alterations.
You see, she is not like her mother. She did not feel good about that dress. So the next day, she went to the director and the costume designer and told them that she did not feel comfortable. That in our family, we don't dress like that. That it is not modest enough for her. Do you know what they did? Those wonderful people (who are not LDS I might add) put sleeves on her dress. They put a ruffle on her slip and it looks like it all goes together. Both her freckles were covered and her face just lit up the stage with joy.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58.)We can not hide what we are. (Nor should we ever try!) It shines forth from within us. Today, I learned just how how much of a light we can be!
I learned from my sweet young daughter that we all need to stand on a hill and not be hid. We need to wave our lights proudly and with enthusiasm. We need to stand up for those things we believe in. We need to make that stand with nothing wavering, not in our hearts, nor our minds. We need to KNOW that our prayers will be answered and that we are in the right.
We need to know and understand that He will stand by us as we learn to stand by Him. We need to remember that nothing changes unless we are willing to start that change first within our own hearts.
My daughter taught me that, with a little help from a couple of freckles, you can stand up for the things that are most important to you. Each one of us really can make a difference.
Oh yeah, and you have to admit, that she looks so, well, shiny!