I once asked Rob, many, many years ago, "What exactly made you fall in love with me?" He answered, without a moment's hesitation, "Your femininity."
This caught me completely off guard. I thought maybe he would say, "Your intellect," as we used to have the most wonderful, deep discussions back before 7 babies sucked all of my working brain cells out through their breast milk. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had said, "Your culinary skills," as I'm a pretty good cook if I do say so myself and the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? But, "femininity"?
I never thought of myself as being terribly feminine. I was a tomboy growing up. I'd rather play sports than play dolls, I loved camping and fishing with my dad, and I could beat up the biggest boy on my street (his nickname, btw, was Chubso). In high school and college, most of my friends were boys. Sure, I always had one or two close girlfriends, but I was most comfortable hanging out with the guys. As a grown woman, I'd rather spend an extra 15 minutes reading a book than putting on makeup or fixing my hair and I've never quite caught on to the domestic arts of sewing, housekeeping, etc.
However, as I watch my two teen daughters grow into women, I'm beginning to understand Rob's statement. Teen Daughter One is a tomboy in her mother's footsteps. She's never had to beat up the neighborhood bully, but she can whip any boy in ice hockey or shooting sports. She could never be described as a girly girl and yet she is beautiful beyond words. She is sweet and tender when dealing with little children, she is a person of service who is always looking out for the needs of others, and she always greets you with a smile. Her maternal instincts run strong and that is what makes her feminine.
Now, Teen Daughter Two is a girly girl. She can let out an ear-piercing squeal at the sight of any creepy crawly thing and she never met a bottle of nail polish that she didn't absolutely adore. Yet her femininity comes not from that, but from her warmth, her gentleness with children and animals, her smile that can light up a room, and her desire to make the world a more beautiful, welcoming place. It's not a curling iron or lipstick that makes one feminine.
Yes, I'm finally getting what Rob meant by saying he fell in love with my femininity.