My Underdressed Daughter

My Underdressed Daughter

Yesterday my daughter left the house dressed in a manner that, if her teacher had seen her, would have gotten her sent to the principal’s office straight home..
I didn’t say anything, cause, well, she wouldn’t have listened anyway.
And then this morning, as I was walking Yoni to kindergarten, I actually did see that daughter’s teacher as she was walking her own daughter to school.
“Oh, good to see you! I saw Sura’le* yesterday at the store…” she said with a smile.
“That’s so nice!” I answered with a smile.
And then I walked home, wishing the sidewalk would swallow me up right then and there, Korach-style.
Here’s a few things I thought to make myself feel better.
1. Bizayon brings yeshuot. Being embarrassed in public brings all sorts of blessings and salvations into one’s life. In fact, certain great rabbis, when in need of salvation, would actively seek out situations in which they would be humiliated. And lucky me, humiliation comes my way on a regular basis without putting in any effort whatsoever!
2. My daughter’s testing boundaries (and dress-codes) is very age appropriate.
3. I like to put up mezuzas in beautiful cases, to honor the sacred words held within. But if that’s not possible for whatever reason, I know that what’s important is the holy mezuza scroll inside, not the case. And the same is true of my daughter. Underdressed but precious beyond words.

*A fictitious name to protect the underdressed

10 comments

  1. "Leah" ;)

    Same happened here yesterday 😉

  2. Beautiful as always! I love the mezuzah case analogy – I’ll keep that in mind (I have 2 teenaged daughters).

  3. Your post is identical to what I am going through..So needed this!

  4. Very good to be able to hear these sorts of things which reduce the stigma and association. It’s easy to feel that we are experiencing this in our own silo. We have so much commonality as Jewish Moms.

  5. Hadassah Aber

    The teacher obviously has lots of students of that age and she just smiled and did not make any negative remark… Glad that you can appreciate the intrinsic worth of your daughter as she goes through this stage…

  6. I don’t know if this is helpful to anyone here because it is about changing how I dressed as a baal teshuva, but in case it is, here’s a poem I once wrote:

    Fragile Wings

    by Bracha Goetz

    Where was the freedom promised?
    Where was the open sky?
    Come on and meet the prisoner,
    Who thought that she could fly.

    Religious girls in summer,
    Blouses buttoned high.
    I’d see long skirts, with stockings,
    As I would pass them by.

    I’d laugh inside me, mocking,
    The girls I used to see.
    Those girls are missing so much.
    How trapped could people be?

    But how could I have known then,
    Jogging through summer rain,
    I strode past them, uncovered,
    In years before the pain.

    Those girls kept their wings hidden,
    And my own wings got crushed.
    Why did I jump too quickly?
    Why was my childhood rushed?

    Crystalline wings they treasured,
    Even at that young age.
    My wings, I learned, were fragile,
    When I hit bars inside the cage.

    My wings have long been broken.
    Can they still be healed?
    Those girls now fly past rainbows.
    Tell me, how does it feel?

    Inside, I’m thrashing lamely.
    Can I get free?
    Now that I see the picture –
    Reversed, ironically.

    Where was the freedom promised?
    Where was the open sky?
    Here I am. Meet the prisoner,
    Who thought that she could fly.

    • This is so deep and beautiful. Got me goosebumps and tears in my eyes.

  7. Bracha, your poem is so poignant yet beautiful. If only the women and girls who need to hear its message would open their hearts and minds to listen.

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