Zuzu Get Your Gun

She says she wants to be Annie Oakley. I can think of worse role models.

Zuzu left on her first grand adventure yesterday.

My dad had to drive down to California on business and Riley's parents live just one town over from my dad's work. My girls are blessed with four amazing grandparents but they do not see the Bingham side of the equation often enough. A thought occurred to me somewhere between pushing the girls on the swing for the 100th time and stepping on a Sleeping Beauty figurine for the 1000th time. Why not send Zuzu with my dad? So I can have a break? So she can see her Nana and Pop?

So a phone call, (Dad, don't you want to spend the next ten hours with a four year old in your car?) and an hour of frenzied packing (Mom! Don't forget my Sleeping Beauty underwear! That is the only kind I can wear in CA!) and it was time to send her off.

She looked so little in my dad's big truck. My tiny ragamuffin surrounded by princess blankets and pillows and books. In her left hand she held a candy cane and in her right she clung to her purple camo toy gun.

"Honey, that gun is pretty big, do you think you need to bring it with you?"

"Mom! What if there are dragons? I need to protect us!"

"Oh, well. In that case, make sure you don't let go of it."

I posted a picture of her holding that little toy gun with her eyes all lit with adventure to my instagram feed yesterday.  Most of the comments were positive, but there were a few that took strenuous issue with the fact I let her have a purple plastic shotgun. (I erased most of them, I don't think political debates belong next to my daughter's face.) Gun control, pro or anti, is a hot topic in our culture and I am not planning to address it in this post. I can appreciate a mother that decides her children will not play with toy guns just as thoroughly as I can appreciate one who does. One of the glories of motherhood is that it is not one size fits all.

I do know that what I saw when looking at that picture was something drastically different than what the angry commenters could see. I saw a little girl with big plans. I saw a girl, who when going out into the world, decided to do so with both the pretty and the practical. I saw a girl who knows the world is full of dragons and also knows she has the tools to knock them down and keep right on going. I saw power and confidence and can do.

I saw the kind of daughter I have always hoped to raise.

(ONE CHILD FOR THREE DAYS! VIOLA AND I ARE GOING TO LUNCH! AND THE MALL! AND ON WALKS! AND DOING NOTHING AT ALL!)