The other day I got new pictures of our girls. One of the girls was wearing a pink floral jumper dress, with a brown paisley long-sleeved blouse over top. I know from walking the streets in Addis that this is a perfectly normal clothing combination in Addis. However it would be a little unusual here in America.
It immediately reminded me of conversations on our agency’s email support group talking about newly arrived older children. Parents report that their girls are totally oblivious to American conventions of clothes matching. Some girls come up with combinations that are wild enough to earn them ridicule when they go to school.
And as for the boys– well, they often wonder why their sisters get the pink and purple sparkly tennis shoes when mom buys them boring black. In Ethiopia, you see, there aren’t ‘girl’ colors and ‘boy’ colors. You wear what you have and are thankful for it. And many Ethiopian boys think the brightest colors are especially attractive.
Thinking over that issue and looking at that picture left me scheming about my daughters’ wardrobe. If I only provided them with neutral solid color bottoms, that would definitely limit the wildness of the clothing possibilities. But it would also mean setting aside some adorable floral skirts that they might really love.
And really, let’s have some perspective here. We are going to homeschool, so on the average day if they choose to wear something a mite unusual, there will be few if any repercussions. Sunday mornings I may have to bite my tongue…or maybe I’ll have some success at steering them towards ‘proper’ matches. Maybe we’ll even have a class in color coordination to americanize their taste in clothing. Who knows?
In the end, I’ve decided that most of the time what they wear is not a major deal. I hope that when the time comes, I can decide to major not in whether this shirt matches those pants, but in what’s really important — the health and happiness and character of my family.