Ryleigh, Logan and I stood at our bathroom sink early one Saturday morning, singing an Alicia Keys song they probably shouldn’t really know. We belted it out until we didn’t know anymore words like we always do, and the lyrics faded into laughter. It got quiet. We smiled at each other in the three-panel mirror. Logan stood to my left, on the tub so that she was high enough to see her reflection. Ryleigh was at my right. Here is where usually I would say:
“Ugh, I wish my cheeks would quit breaking out.”
“Could my hair grow any more slowly?”
“I used to have such a nice smile.”
Usually I’d say something like that and Ry and Lo would get embarrassed because I was putting myself down – but in our house the goal is to not put others down – so was I doing something wrong? They thought I looked fine but if I was finding all these flaws with myself – maybe they have more flaws than they realize, too?
They’d protest that I looked pretty, then change the subject.
So that Saturday morning I tried something different. I put my chin up a little, stared right into my eyes in the mirror and looked hard. I didn’t look long but I didn’t have to because my reflection was so raw, it was right there, quickly: I’m beautiful. So I said it – smiled at Me and spoke:
“I’m beautiful.” I even said it sort of sassy.
Logan’s face lit up.
“I boodafow!” She yelled of course, said it even sassier.
Ryleigh flipped her hair and smiled wide.
“I am bee-yoo-tifulllll!“
Logan cracked up at Ryleigh’s Valley accent and we all started laughing.
I felt beautiful.
It’s not often that I really deep down feel beauty emanate from my center, outward. I’m grateful that when I did that day it was with my daughters. Our girls need to see and hear that. They need a real definition of beauty and what makes a thing beautiful – not what they will be told it is by the media or popular culture. I can’t get caught up in superficiality if I don’t want my daughters to. I have to celebrate how naturally magnificent it is, to be me – I have to do it in front of my daughters.
Beauty is born inside, so I should feed it good food and good thoughts and good works and kind words. Then it will shine so brightly it will radiate from me, and I will have to feel it always. And my children will see it and it can be a model for them, a lesson in appreciating what is real and important in life, because it’s all those thoughts and works and words that make us beautiful.
Work in progress…
I am bee-yoo-tifulllll. <— That’s a start.
If you don’t say it already – you try it, too.