I Spent My Summers Not Wearing Pink

August 5, 2012

More reflections on summer, this week, from author Sarah Leith Bahn.

I Spent my Summers Not Wearing Pink:

Do I like the color pink? Yes! Have I always been capable of admitting to that? No!

You see, when I was young I spent my summers wishing I was a boy.

At the end of a long dirt road, amongst tall pine trees, my grandparent’s house sat on the banks of the most beautiful crystal-clear lake, called Lake George. It was here I spent my summers with my older brother and two older boy cousins. And it was because of these three boys that I never wore pink. I figured the more boy I could be, the more likely the boys would let me play with them.

Most days, however, I could be seen standing alone on the dock watching the boys way off in the distance paddling away in the canoe – the boys having successfully ditched me.

At night I would plan my attack again. If my Mom didn’t catch me and force me into my pajamas, I would sleep in a bathing suit with one eye open and one eye closed, so when the boys snuck out early in the mornings to play “King of The Dock” (a particularly brutal game with no rules, except one, last man dry on the dock won) I was ready to go and sure not to miss any excitement!

On the rare occasion that I kept up with the boys and successfully retired for the night bruised and battered from climbing rocks, jumping cliffs, swimming long distances, and running as fast as I could to keep up, everything was always better: the air smelled sweeter, the stars were brighter, and I felt like a super hero having achieved the impossible.

As I got older my summer days at the Lake dwindled. At thirteen-years-old, I started training fulltime in the sport of Whitewater Slalom with the dream of making the U.S. Olympic Team. I went from spending my summers chasing my brother and cousins to chasing after the best athletes in the world. But, it was those young summer days trying to keep up with the boys that taught me how to push hard. Those boys taught me how to fight and I don’t mean physically, I mean mentally. There are low points in every fairy tale and high points are only achieved when you pick yourself up and move on to win the next most epic battle.

Now I spend my summers still trying to keep with three boys: my husband, my two-year old son, and one-month-old baby boy. But there is one difference, I’m not afraid to wear pink and tie a ribbon in my hair. I now know that girls wearing pink can do more than keep up – they can kick butt too.

You can find out more about Sarah’s book, The Ancient Realm here

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