This morning I told the littles we could play hide ‘n’ seek after I got ready for the day. Then I looked in the mirror and began to mentally pick at everything going on there. My clothes are frumpy because my body is frumpy, hormones have me breaking out like a teenager on prom night, my eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep, wrinkles, my nose is still pregnant, I always smell like baby throw up (you can call it “spit up” all you want. the reality is, it is projected with such force that even after I shower, it is still embedded deep within my pores, making my internal organs smell like puke), the weight that was melting away has now stopped melting and has settled on my thighs as it’s final resting place…the list goes on.
As I was searching the mirror for some redeeming quality to validate me as a woman, something to make me feel pretty, Connor came running around the corner, looked at me and said, “Momma, you are beautiful.” That kid and his words.Yesterday he completely emptied his bladder on his bedroom floor (sorry future Connor, you were three when I wrote this). When I asked him why, for the love of just washed floors, WHY did he do it??? He looked up at me with his big, sad, blue eyes and said, “Because I’m little.”
Well, it’s not like I went through a huge amount of growth since he spoke his convicting words to me yesterday, so my initial reaction was to snort a “yeah, right.” like I say to the firefighter when he has the audacity to compliment my appearance (I’ll come back to that). But I stopped myself. Instead of listing the reasons he was wrong, (I mean, I was wearing orange tie dyed socks with black skull-motifed Toms, and leggings…you get the picture. No, really. I’m including a picture.) I really thought about his words.
“Momma, you are beautiful.”
He said nothing about how I looked. Didn’t mention anything I was seeing or searching for in the mirror. My beauty is not contingent on the amount of time I can put into finding and covering my flaws. It is not bound by my ability to bind my, ahem, portions of excess body (fat) into more aesthetically pleasing proportions. My beauty to this sweet stinker is my mommyhood. That when I finished brushing my teeth, we were gonna run, squeal, and giggle through the house.
Further, I need to stop being my husband’s wife’s worst enemy. The firefighter cherishes me, not because I give birth and immediately look like I didn’t. I need to accept the sweet words he says to me, and stop thinking they are spoken out of obligation. I need to stop hating my inability to measure up to the vapid tinsel of what the world considers beautiful, and recognize that beauty is what is happening beneath the surface. The body is always only a mere container of what is allowed to be most important. How I care for my faith, family, and friends in love and joy is more lovely and inviting than any beauty without substance.
Thank you, three year old brain, for reminding me of what is true.