Last night I spent the night searching the seemingly hundreds of rooms each containing treasures at the amazing Art Institute of Chicago hand in hand with Evangeline. We were searching for beauty, wondering about the artists, talking about what it means to be beautiful, discussing how we define inner and outer beauty, and laughing (mostly when she could not stop giggling at naked statues).
This is the 4th date of our Mama daughter Dates we have been doing this year with friends! These times have become dear to us & it has become a rite of passage in the Engstrom crew- each daughter is so excited for her turn to do the dates with mama & friends! I shared about these dates with Annikah here and here for anyone who has asked more about these times. These dates & this group is about being intentional to help our daughters grow and learn in a safe environment where we are FOR one another! This is still true for me, God has been teaching me again and again that good intentions are not enough in this life. I have many great intentions but I grow apathetic, lazy, or just plain tired and I allow life to get in the way. I want to stand in the gap or my kids and allow them to know I am so for them. I want them to know they are “wonderfully and fearfully made.” But I know I cannot just hope this happens and I cannot do it alone, I am so grateful I can join with other women that want to be present for our girls as they grow and learn and face challenges. And we are committed to being there for each other’s girls because as they grow they might not always feel as though they can talk to me so I want them to know other women they trust and can freely go to. Girls need lots of women cheering them on. I’m so blessed that I have sisters to join me in this journey of raising girls and pointing them to what God says about them.
Last night 7 friends and our daughters went on an adventure downtown for our continued time of being intentional with our daughters. As anyone with more than one child knows time with just one can be rare & always makes my kids feel so special!! For me I also see these times as a chance to rebel against what the world tries to teach our daughters about their and other’s beauty. We are refusing to listen to the voices that tell us that there are narrow definitions of beauty or that we must compete with each other! We will remind each other what God says about us. I’m so grateful for the gifts & thoughtful insights of these other women; this is why we are meant to raise our kids in a Mama Tribe! My wicked talented friend Catherine designs beautiful journal pages each time so we can process during and after the date and record our thoughts. She included this quote on the page last night, “Real art is religion, a search for the beauty of God deep in all things.”- Emily Carr. Just love that. We also are each taking time to look through The Atlas of Beauty full of portraits of women from around the world by the talented photographer Mihaela Noroc to help us see beauty in all different and diverse faces. My girls LOVE this book and seeing beauty reflected in different cultures around the world!
Evy already asked when our next date will be and I was reminded just how special these times are- they are worth the planning, kid shuffling, & energy and I am thankful for our mama tribe! Thanks to many who have asked about these dates- I love to answer questions and help others tweak & get groups started! If you are wanting this time with your daughter my encouragement is to start a group!! Be vulnerable and say “Hey, so I’m thinking of doing this- anyone want to join us?” That is just what I did- I asked women to join us on this journey!! It is awesome to see how community can be built.
Cheers on your journey of beauty; resting in it, searching for it, appreciating it, & embracing it in YOURself & others,