"Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear
Come close and lend an ear"
 - Renegades, by X Ambassadors 

The photo above is from my first 5k: The Color Run. I was convinced to run it by my friend Shelley, a talented photographer. We ran with a group of other friends and at the end of the run, Shelley took photos of us covered in the colored powder. Temporarily, our faces, hair, arms and legs (and of course our white shirts) were dyed blue, purple, green, yellow, and pink. For one photo, Shelley had me take to one knee, a football player's pose, fists clenched and a determined look on my face.
When I showed the photo to my mom, she chuckled. 
"You're not so tough," she said. 

It's funny: at the time, I felt taken aback. Was I weak, then? Not strong? Of course this wasn't what my Mom meant at all. I know my Mom knows I am strong. I think instead, there's a distinct disconnect: daughters have a longing to be fierce, while mothers see the overall and/or inner gentleness. Mothers see the children and babies they once were, see the tender parts which help shape them, while the daughter must learn how to face the world with strength. 

I was reminded of this because of seeing a similar interaction on Facebook awhile back. A friend posted a photo of herself staring down the camera, with dark football smudges under her eyes. Her mom commented something like, "I know you're not tough." The girl commented back, "Wow, thanks Mom." Like, gee, bode of confidence. Yet I believe it's simply fate: a mother to see her daughter as gentle even when the daughter is determined to be strong. Tough, even. 

The other day I walked over to Casa Gabriel, only to find that the large metal front door leading into the yard was stuck. It tends to expand in heat and require force to enter. Without hesitating I gave the door a swift, hard kick as I turned the key. It swung open with a bang. Behind me, the boys gave a whoop. (It must have looked funny, as I was wearing a skirt and flats while kicking in the door. Of course.). Feminine and tough. 

Perhaps someday I'll have a daughter of my own and will see her as gentle, sweet, and dear even while she climbs trees and plays sports and has intelligent conversations and learns self-defense. Maybe one day I'll be given that privilege. Till then, I'll kick down doors and carry a knife in my pocket ... and be reminded that some will always see the gentleness underneath.