You see? The “legal adult” you all see before you? The beautiful, polite, smart, sweet, politically correct, top scholar? She was once a beautiful, smart, sassy, stubborn, strong willed, test-every-rule kind of girl…
I was so glad she out grew that Last year…
All kidding aside? She has always been a great kid to raise.. (Except that time when she accused a kind old gentleman of trying to kidnap her.. Or the time she tipped the bookshelf over.. Sigh.. Or the time she screamed in the store bathroom that the dinosaurs were going to eat her.. Sigh.. Or the time she dumped all the shampoo, conditioner and body soap into the bathwater as an “experiment”… )
Ok .. Ok.. There were times that I questioned my ability to parent this child successfully..
And I think THAT is one of the reasons I don’t write about my daughter as much as my son..
I made a ton of mistakes..
One of the worst was the day my daughter told me she KNEW she wasn’t pretty..
Frustrated I asked her how she could KNOW that she wasn’t..
She stated (very matter-of-factly).. “Because YOU have never told me that I was pretty. Everyone knows that mothers ALWAYS think their children are beautiful no MATTER what .. So if my own mother doesn’t tell me I’m pretty.. Then I must be pretty ugly.”
I remember my world froze in that moment..
After a moment of silence, my daughter shrugged her shoulders like the whole thing was no big deal..
… it WAS a big deal to me..
But it was also true..
Why wouldn’t I tell my daughter she was beautiful?
Well… This world is so hung up on our girls BEING beautiful.. That I wanted to emphasize everything that was below the surface with my girl.. Her intelligence.. Her kindness.. Her empathic heart.. Her natural leadership .. Her imagination…
I wanted her to like who she WAS on the inside no matter what her outside looked like..
I was too intent on keeping her confident, humble and successful… And kind..
But in that moment I knew I had failed..
Every child likes to feel cherished by their mother.. And I had not given that need a thought..
So with tears in my heart (and in my eyes), I told her I thought she was the most beautiful girl .. And that I also thought she was beautiful for the girl she IS on the inside.. I explained that I hadn’t told her she was beautiful because I didn’t want her to think Beauty was the most important thing..
I told her I made a mistake.. That I should have told her both..
And then I hugged that beautiful girl to me..
I don’t know why God trusted me with this strong willed, stubborn, beautiful girl to raise..