she is beautiful

How do I tell her that when she knits her brow in frustration, her eyebrows drawing together as though snagged on the bobbin teeth of a sewing machine, that she is beautiful?  How do I whisper “you are beautiful” and apply those words to her heart with a glue so strong it will not give way to the insidious eroding of beauty magazines, Hollywood fever, and middle school girls’ bathroom gossip?  How do I tell her that “beautiful” is not an adjective I dole out like a reward candy when she is perfectly composed, perfectly behaved, and perfectly attired?

She is beautiful in herself.

Beauty seeps out of her pores when she has draped herself in a two-and-a-half “I didn’t get my way” funk on the floor.  Beauty bowls me over when she offers me a charred nub of sweet potato fry and says, “Here.  This is for mama.”  Beauty slaps me upside the head when her hair mats to her neck with sweet naptime sweat.

How do I tell her she is beautiful when she raises a fire-engine whine as we leave the bank?  “No.  I want a pinkandpurple lollipop,” the siren pitches while clutching a pink lollipop in an enraged fist.

When she is most herself in her fiery moods, cool moods, happy moods, shy moods, joyful moods, whiny moods, sleepy moods, enchanting moods, impish moods, she is beautiful.

She doesn’t have to dress up, make-up, and behave herself to be beautiful.

To me, she is in her very essence beautiful.  At every minute.  In any condition.

Even when she wakes up in the middle of the night, plowing a deep furrow in the otherwise placid field of my sleep.

Even when a pink lollipop is not quite good enough.

Even when the world will try to convince her she is not…

…She is beautiful.

John Keats stood in the chill halls of a museum in a year that began with the long-ago number of 18 and pondered a Grecian urn.  In that preserved vessel of a bygone era, he stumbled upon the same pit-of-the-stomach truth that is thrust upon me along with a ketchup-dripping fry: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty–that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

In being who she truly is, all glorious parts, version, iterations, and movements of her, she is beautiful.

How do I tell her?

This post is gratefully inspired by and shared with The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday.

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13 Comments

  1. jennifer said:

    WOW! That was very touching. You are an amazing writer.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  2. Larry T said:

    “Beauty” is a noun.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  3. Nancy Taylor said:

    You are both beautiful. Just keep showing her and it will sink deeply in. She will still question it when she’s I. Middle school most likely. She will also know

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  4. Jo said:

    To my three daughters: “In being who {you} truly {are}, all glorious parts, versions, iterations and movements of {you}, {you are} beautiful. How do I tell {you}?”
    Thank-you, God, that you have shown me “truth is beauty and beauty truth” through the gift of my daughters.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  5. Jenny said:

    Beautiful post, just beautiful. I have a six-month old girl (and 2.5 year old boy) and I hope, as you do, that they always know that they are truly beautiful. Visiting from The Gypsy Mama’s 5 minute friday.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  6. Kara said:

    What a beautiful post from a beautiful Momma. The final picture of two beauties is breathtaking.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  7. Brenda said:

    She will feel beautiful because you as a mother are concerned now with instilling that in her. She will see God in you and the beauty in you will also be reflected in her!

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  8. Martha said:

    Not only is the writer amazing (and I loved this post), the photographer captured the 2 of them beautifully. Did Johanna do that?

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
    • James gets the credit for our portrait. He’ll be thrilled to be mistaken for Johanna’s talent behind the lens!

      August 13, 2011
      Reply
  9. midnitechef said:

    Love this post! I’ve also worried that my baby girl won’t believe she is beautiful.

    August 12, 2011
    Reply
  10. Jordan Marie said:

    bloggy moms weekend link up visitor..

    you really have a way with words!

    “How do I tell her?”
    – make sure to share this with her someday! and i’m sure she knows by the love you show her each day!

    <3xojo

    August 13, 2011
    Reply
  11. DM said:

    WOw. Your writing blew me away in its loveliness. Your visuals are incredible, and the way you put words together is just wow. Really. I wanna write like you when I grow up. 😉

    Thank you SO much for introducing yourself to me through the Bloggy Mom’s Writing Workshop. I really, really hope that you’ll participate more often.

    August 14, 2011
    Reply
  12. […] 8:54 am: Diaper change.  Much kicking, squalling, and flailing involved.  This is not my typical Little Friend, but hey, I love her anyway. […]

    August 24, 2011
    Reply

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