Have you seen this girl?

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Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

She is beautiful.

Not just because she has blonde hair, the cutest button nose, and eyes you could melt in, but because SHE is beautiful.

She is smart, spunky, adventurous, loving, thoughtful, sassy, and determined.  She brings with her laughter and love, a bit of frustration, and a whole lot of smiles.  She enters a room.  This girl is not timid.  She walks with purpose, and almost always parades into a room as if she expects us mere commoners to shower her with flowers and gifts.  At 3 she has a confidence in herself that I hope she will carry with her in the most awkward and self-aware times of her life.

SHE is beautiful.

We have been careful to not steer either of our kids into any perception of what is “gender- appropriate” and chose to start both kids with “boy stuff” and “girl stuff” to choose from and let them come into their own, on their own.  If Miles’ favorite toy growing up was the kitchen set and he wanted a Cinderella birthday party at age 3, so be it. If Ava loves Diego instead of Dora, and wants to play football, so be it.  They are kids, and exploration should not be labeled “pink” or “blue” specific.

Right now we are in the midst of a sparkle explosion.   Ava loves all things dresses, skirts, tutus and tiaras.  The preferred color palette is pink and purple, though exceptions will be made if it has sequins on it.  She also likes to get down and dirty, preferring digging in the dirt and races with her brother to tea parties and baby dolls.

SHE is beautiful.

She is kind and nurturing.  When someone is sick, or hurt, or just plain sad, she is the first one to put her little arm around you, pat your back, and tell you “it’s gonna be ok.”  Even though she is younger, she stands up for her older brother if she feels he is being wronged by the big, bad, adults.  Only she can tell him what to do!

SHE is beautiful.

I often worry that someday her confidence will be thwarted when those around her (the voices I cannot control) tell her that her self-assurance should come from her external, not her internal, beauty.

It may not be as outward a statement as that.  It may be as innocuous as the daycare teacher who tells her how “pretty she looks today” when she wears her princess dress, but not when she is wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt.  Or it may be the emphasis that is placed on how cute her outfit is, when her brothers’ sweats and t-shirt go wholly unnoticed.  Or it may even be her observance of my own satisfaction of being fully primped, pruned, and sucked in before work, while picking or poking at “flaws” when the mask comes off at night.

I am beautiful.

I have to keep telling myself this, aloud and in front of my kids.  This awesome little girl got to be the way she is partly because of me, because of what I have shown her so far.  And while I will continue to indulge (and admittedly enjoy) this time of sparkles and dress-up, I need her to remember that she is so much more than frills and makeup.  I need to make sure that what she sees in our home is positive and more powerful than what she hears out in the world.  That she not only thinks it, but she knows it.

 SHE is beautiful.

 

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