“6 is a number.
8 is a number.
10 is a number.
12 and 14, well, are numbers as well.
Numbers that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
And yet they do.
My daughter Natalie is 8 years old.
Old enough to want cool clothes, beautiful hair, and fancy painted nails to head back into public school.
Honestly, I am fine with all of it.
We parent all of our children by doing what brings them happiness to encourage good self-confidence.
As we strolled around the mall shopping for back-to-school clothes, I found out very quickly that what I was teaching my daughter was not what we would find in stores.
6 is not just a number in stores.
8 is not just a number in stores.
10 is not just a number in stores.
12 and 14 are not just numbers in stores.
Apparently, at 8 years old, our beautiful daughter Natalie already had this idea that size numbers hold value.
The bigger the number, the less value she had.
The bigger the number, the less food she ate.
The bigger the number, the more she won’t have friends.
The bigger the number I passed her to try on, she reminded me she is fat.
My mama heart broke into a million tiny pieces.
Have I failed to parent when my daughter’s self-confidence is crumbling apart in a dressing room?
6, 8, 10, 12, 14.
We went through every size in pants and tops.
Nothing fit her properly.
I could see our daughter Natalie getting more frustrated and upset.
So as we sat for a quick minute in the dressing room together I told her about myself when I was a little girl.
When I was a little girl nothing ever fit me properly and I was frustrated just like you are.
I used to hate trying on clothes because I always felt disappointed and sad when sizes didn’t fit me like they do other girls my age.
‘It is okay if things don’t fit, it’s okay if we don’t find anything at this store.
We will go to as many stores as you want until we find the best back-to-school clothes.
A size number on a tag does not determine how amazing you are.
A size number on a tag does not determine how smart you are.
A size number on a tag does not determine how important you are in this world.
A size number on a tag does not determine how many friends you have.
A size number on a tag can say any number at all and I will always love you to the moon and back.’
As we walked out of the 4th store, I saw something shift in our daughter; she was a little happier and less disappointed.
She felt less alone.
She felt like I understood exactly what she was feeling.
I reminded her that I, myself, have been all the sizes.
And no matter what size I am or will be ever in my life, a number on a tag does not devalue my life.
Nor does it devalue your life, my beautiful Natalie.
Everyone wears a number.
Never let a number hold that much power over your self-confidence and value.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Emde of Journey for Avery. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Katie here:
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.