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.