Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I am an Unattractive Mother Raising Beautiful Daughters

I'm not society's idea of beautiful. I own that. I'm not seeking compliments or for anyone to disagree, I just know that a perpetually chubby, often disheveled woman with strong features and a large nose isn't society's idea of beauty. As I get older, I'm becoming much more okay with this fact, even as there is lingering pain over such memories as no one telling me that I was beautiful on my wedding day.  I have so many other things about me that are beautiful and, frankly, I have better things to worry my mind about. 

I also happen to have two beautiful daughters(and one handsome son). Watching the world react to my daughters has been an education in itself for me. The world at large treats attractive females differently, in both ways good and bad. I have a unique vantage point as their mother, who tends in her plainness to blend into the woodwork and not be noticed(a plus, actually, for this introvert Mama). My daughters, unlike me, are noticed everywhere we go. They are complimented on their hair, their fashion sense, their bright blue eyes. Yet, no one asks them about the books they are reading or their school work or what things they might love outside of their own appearance. They are so much more than their pretty faces but the older woman at the grocery store, the mailman dropping off packages and the secretary at the doctor's office don't know that my daughters are talented dancers, love reading and have a wicked sense of humor among many other things. What they do know is that my daughters are beautiful and that fact sometimes seems to overshadow everything else. 

 When I was growing up the attention always went first to my little sister. She was a petite blond-haired beauty. The compliments would go to her first- "so pretty!", "what a cute dress!" and so on. Then they would stumble onto me, stammering over what to say.  They would ask about school(straight a's), what book I was reading(I carried books with me everywhere) or something similar. My lack of beauty in many ways allowed me to pursue my intellectual pursuits and receive positive attention over the things that I loved to do, not the way my exterior looked. In that way, it was a great blessing and made me who I am today. 

I want my daughters to be encouraged in the same ways. I want them to embrace their physical beauty but I want so much more for them. I want them to know that beauty fades but the time that they spend on what is inside will never leave them. I want them to have a chance to be whatever they were meant to be without society pigeonholing them into tiny beautiful pegs.

 I am coming to terms with my own looks, in part as I see myself reflected in their beautiful faces- my nose(yes, the large one!) on my youngest daughter's gorgeous face, my hair and eyes on my middle daughter. The features that I once loathed now seem so lovely on their precious faces. I am also recognizing that my appearance, the mediocrity of it, was just as much a gift as my daughters' beauty is to them. My plainness gave me wings to fly beyond those mired in outwardness. Now I must be sure that my daughters are given the chance to own their beauty AND fly towards their forever purpose. Now that, my friends, would be truly beautiful.


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