"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Daughter is Beautiful

Scary Mommy has picked up this article! You can find it here
where I've tweaked it a bit for her audience. 

Here is my original piece:

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Something terrible is happening along the important and necessary path we have taken to redefine what it means to be a Girl. Along with all of the Good that paves this new path; brave, strong, smart, independent, there is a new, and hopefully inadvertent, negative. Somewhere along the way, the word "Beautiful" seems to have become bad.

I have read more than a few blog posts and articles over the past several months which all seem to suggest, not that girls are more than "just pretty faces," with which I think we could all agree, but that calling a girl "Beautiful" might as well be an insult. I read an "open letter," a cease and desist, really, from a mother asking the compliment-givers in her neighborhood to stop commenting on the beauty of her daughter's hair. I read another one, from another mother, who said that she does not call her daughter Beautiful. She'll give her a million words of praise a day, but not one will be a comment on her physical appearance.

You guys. We have taken this Girl Power thing too far. Well, by "we" I mean "you" because I call my daughter Beautiful no less than thousands of times per day (roughly).

My daughter IS beautiful. As I'm sure the daughters of the mothers mentioned above are, too. And I want my beautiful girl to always believe that she is, so I tell her. Often. And I'll keep telling her until my words become her own and she recognizes the pure and natural beauty that has always been and will always be Her.

Of course I tell, and will continue to tell, my daughter that she is Kind. And Talented. Generous and a Clever Problem-Solver. Bright and Sensitive with a killer Sense of Humor (even at two! She slays her brothers with mere mention of poop and toots). She is Compassionate. Loving.....Brave. Strong. Smart. Independent. I will continue to extol her many and various virtues on a daily basis so that she knows that the best parts of her don't go unnoticed in the busy and the hectic and the Oh My God, You Guys, Just Put On Your Shoes!

I call my daughter Beautiful because, when I'm commenting on her beauty, I'm pointing out her natural beauty. I don't put make-up on my 2-year old and then comment on the length of her lashes or the shape of her cheekbones. I don't highlight my baby's hair and then swoon over her gorgeous cornsilk curls. I don't show her an Instagrammed close-up of her denim-blue eyes and then tell her they melt me. I don't dress her up in fancy clothes and then say she looks Fabulous. When I say she's beautiful, I mean that She is beautiful...all crusty-nosed and bed-headed and pouty-faced and mis-matched and dirt-covered. Because she truly is...as any mother could say of her child.

In fact, shouldn't childhood be precisely the time we are telling girls and boys, loudly and repeatedly for the world to hear, how beautiful they are? Before they have a chance to compare their image to those on the covers of the magazines in the grocery store check-out line? Before they have a chance to hear from their friends in third period about eyelash curlers and push-up bras? Before they have a chance to hear a negative comment made to them by an insecure peer? Before they have a chance to want thousands of Likes on a photo-shopped selfie?

Now is the time. I will call my daughter Beautiful. I will smile adoringly at her as the sweet grandfather at the Post Office calls her a "Pretty Little Lady." I will voice my agreement as the store clerk gushes, "Well, aren't you just the cutest thing?!" And I will remind her every day that She is Beautiful. Just the way she is...and however she chooses to present herself.

And you know what? If my daughter tells me that when she grows up she wants to marry a prince and be a princess, who am I to judge? I bet the Middletons are pretty damn proud of their daughter.

Lesson Learned:
Calling my daughter Beautiful does not limit her in any way, and I'm not going to let the internet convince me otherwise.

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