I don't have the most accurate memory when it comes to my childhood. I remember lots of things, but a lot of what I know is through pictures. I know we took a road trip up the west coast when I was 5, and that we drove into the redwoods and saw lots of relatives- but the only actual memory I have is pretending to vacuum with a family friend's little boy. I know that I lived in a house with green carpet, and that my brother Sam and I were the best of friends- but I don't have many actual memories until I was 5 or 6.
Despite my spotty memory, there are a few things that I have very vivid memories of.
One of which is always thinking my mom was the most beautiful person alive. I remember the smell of her make-up and this certain perfume she used to wear. I remember being so excited to grow up so that I could be as pretty as my mama. (Sorry, mom, I know you're crying already....I have a point to make though).
Then, one day, I don't know when or where it happened, I somehow realized that she didn't always see this same beauty in herself. I've heard my mom say the same thing about her mom, and I'm sure it's been the same way for every daughter and mother everywhere.
And now, 20-ish years down the road, I have my own little girl and I can't help seeing that she already thinks I'm the most beautiful mama out there.
Part of my heart is worried that I'm creating a girly-girl monster (which is concerning because I'm not a girly girl in the least), but I know that her tastes will change a million times over the years. I'm very aware of the weight of my role as her mommy- right now, until she realizes differently, I'm the prettiest woman in the world, and she is beautiful.
My attitude towards my appearance has a profound effect on how she will view beauty.
She sees my negative looks and sighs and size up-s. She hears me mutter how I wish these stretchmarks on my legs would just go away or that I could hurry and up be "un-pregnant" so I can loose the almost 30 pounds I've put on.
That scares me.
This goes so far beyond looks, but for girls, often that is the starting place. We are born with a longing to feel beautiful- to know that someone thinks we are the prettiest one. And it's a good longing. As we grow older though, we begin to compare ourselves, and doubt creeps in.
"Comparison is the thief of joy".
It's so true.
As hard as it is, living in a culture that holds impossible standards for beauty, I've committed to seeing myself as my 18 month old sees me- stretch marks and all.
Nothing can compare to the feeling of her little hands feeling my face and kissing my ever-growing tummy and hearing her little voice whisper "I yuv ya". She sees no fault, and I don't want to either.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder- I'm just choosing my 18 month old's eyes to be the ones I look through.