You guys, I love the Olympics. Like, LOVE! I always do, every single time, and the magic is not wearing off at all as time marches on. The Olympics are basically 16 days of Disneyland at my own house every two years. The 1988 Calgary and Seoul games are the first that I really remember actively watching, and almost 30 years later I am even more in love with the whole thing as I was back then. Winter, Summer, I don’t care. I love and am here for exactly all of it.
The multitude of NBC channels and the on demand availability is allowing me to pretty much completely immerse myself in the Olympics- inasmuch as my two- and four-year-olds will allow. I mean, I have to pay *SOME* attention to them as well. But I’m trying to watch at least a little bit of every single sport and make sure my kids do as well- and also that they see both men and women competing in all of the events in which both men and women compete. Basically, picture me sitting in a giant hot tub of Olympics with just my face showing, water bubbling around my ears, and trying my best to keep my kids in the tub with while they’re desperately climbing out at the edges trying to head for the Paw Patrol Pool (PS I know hot tubs aren’t safe for kids, reality is not relevant to this metaphor). I would also like to send a big shout out to the stomach virus that has had me somewhat laid up for the past few days for giving me the chance to parent less and watch more. I’m not sure it was an even trade-off, though…just looking on the bright side.
One of the people I have “met” this past Olympic week is shot putter Michelle Carter.
She is the first American Woman to win shot put gold. Near as I have seen, Michelle Carter has two main jobs: Professional Makeup Artist and shot putter. That’s right, she makes her living making herself and other people look beautiful and also throwing heavy objects better than any other woman in the entire world. You can find out more on her website, I personally want to hire her to do #allthethings.
I also want to take a sec to honor the fact that she is a strong, successful, radiant black woman who is breaking ground and shining bright in a season where things have seemed particularly dim for people of color in our country AND she is showing that women can be beautiful and strong at any size. Also, she posts stuff like this on her Instagram:
But the reason she is so near and dear to my heart is because I see reflected in her so much of my sweet Miss Kenzie. Yesterday, watching track and field had Ms. K running around the house at top two-year-old speed. “I WUNNING! FAST!” She declared. “Are you Tori Bowie, sweetie?” I asked, “Are you Brianne Theisen-Eaton?” “NOOOOO!” She indignantly declared, “I PWINCESS SOFIA!” and took off running like a shot. I cackled out loud, but then I stepped back for a minute and realized that to this child, there is nothing mutually exclusive about being a “pwincess” and running fast. To us adults who have spent the past several decades being conditioned to certain ways of thought there might be, but not to my fast and fancy Princess Sprintsalot.
On her birthday weekend, we attended her Uncle Kyle’s birthday party on Saturday where she ran in the dirt with her brother and her her cousin, climbed all over the todder-sized construction machines, and needed about five showers when she got home. The next day, she couldn’t WAIT to wear her pink dress for her own party and lost her ever-loving mind over the new clothes from Grandma and Grandpa (which Grandpa had picked out, by the way, SO CUTE!) and the dress-up trunk from Nana and Granddad. She saw exactly zero conflict of interest there.
That space that she’s living in right now, a place where she can be both strong and fancy, dirt-covered and beautiful, a princess and a superhero at the same time- and guess what? When you think about it, that space is TRUTH, y’all. All of these boxes we try to put women in, the one-or-the-other mentalities, the need to make sure that women aren’t too complex or confusingly muti-faceted, that is something that happens along the way. God did not say unto us, “And I shall make thee, women, into two kingdoms, the Pretty and Fancy and the Strong and Capable.” Nope, He made men AND women in His own image, women are His image-bearers and that means that we can represent any and all of the things in His nature that He calls us to and to Him, none of them are mutually exclusive.
That is where Michelle Carter lives in her life and she occupied it on the grandest stage this week. Engaging beast-mode in a way that would probably make Marshawn Lynch himself have a seat in deference, while wearing a fierce red lip and some perfectly crafted lashes. Head to her website to hire her to throw shot put and do your make-up. She is the strong and the fancy, the beautiful and the beast-mode. She’s showing my daughter that yes, she CAN BE and ALREADY IS everything that her little two-year-old mind believes that she was created to be. I mean, if she JUST wants to be the president of the fashion club or decides that she’s all about being a construction worker and make-up is like, eew, then that’s just fine. She gets to discover for herself what God put in her and I’ll be over here cheering her on. But women like Michelle Carter, women who are strongly living into all of who they were created to be, they show Kenzie that she can also be ALL of who she was created to be, all at the same time, in the same space, and she can SHINE.
THIS may just be why I love the Olympics so goshdarned much. I get to “meet” people like Michelle Carter who remind me of some of the many things that still right in the world and are even, dare I say it, getting better. And didn’t we need this right now? Didn’t we need some RIGHT and GOOD to come together around? I know I did. I feel reminded that the world is still an amazing place with goodness still awaiting my son and daughter as they grow. Thank you, Lord, for the Olympics. And there’s still a week left!!!!
OK, I gotta go. I’m missing synchronized swimming and pommel horse! And there’s handball later. I’m not even sure I knew that was a thin…