I have spent the last few days staring at my children. Children are beautiful. I do not think that I have ever met a newborn, infant, toddler, preschooler or young child that I did not find beautiful. My daughters are beautiful little creatures. There is physical beauty that children posses: long, gorgeous eyelashes, beautiful blue eyes with flicks of amber, rosy, chubby cheeks, dimples, creamy, smooth skin, chubby little fingers and toes, pouty lips, soft, fine hair that always smells good. However, physical beauty is constantly changing as children age. As any smart woman knows, beauty can be fleeting and it lies within the eye of the beholder.
There is a deeper beauty to children. I have always felt and appreciated this sense of beauty, but never attempted to articulate what it is specifically, that makes children so magically beautiful. When your infant is first learning to smile and coo, and you look over her bassinet in the morning and there she is, wide-eyed with a gorgeous smile, waiting to greet you, that is pure beauty. When your toddler is learning how to hug, the first time they throw their arms around you and squeeze, that is pure beauty. When your two-year old is done having a tantrum and is sitting on the couch with big tears running down her beautiful, pouty, chubby face, that is pure beauty. When your preschooler tells you that she loves you and that you are “the best mom I’ve ever seen”, that is pure beauty.
It is this deeper beauty that lies within children; this is the beauty that transcends physical beauty. It is the beauty of innocence. Have you ever seen a child’s eyes when they achieve something for the first time? Their first smile, first step, first time peeing on the potty; they may be too young to articulate the sense of accomplishment that they feel, but you can see it reflected in their eyes. This sense of new-found accomplishment, mixed with the wonder and natural curiosity that children posses, highlights their innocence.
As a parent it is absolutely joyous to watch and to cultivate the innocence that lies within our children. Our children are built like the basic gingerbread house that you construct from a box, they have the basic structure, but as parents it is our responsibility to provide to them and share with them the experiences that will turn them into masterpieces, gum drop trimmed windows and all. Nothing influences a young child more than what they observe from the adults in their lives. It is our responsibility to cultivate their innocence.
Last week the world lost a piece of its innocence. Twenty of the most beautiful and innocent souls were taken too soon. Their beauty will live on through their siblings, through their families, and through the ones who loved them most. The world has changed and it is more important now than it ever has been before to preserve the beauty and innocence of our children. I will never again look at my children, or any child, and take their innocence for granted. My deepest and most heartfelt sympathies go out to all who were affected by the unspeakable acts that took place on December 14, 2012. I send my love, my strength, and the hope of one day being able to heal, to the families of Newtown.