Beauty is not in the face,
Beauty is a light in the heart.-Khalil Gibran
Pardon the rambling, but I couldn’t sleep last night, because a stuffed up 6 year old nose was sniffing next to me. I lay there wide awake THINKING. That is never good. Just ask Tate who has had a nice break from my daily phone calls while driving to the ends of the Mississippi earth. There should be a law against thinking and driving!
As Tate and I are watching gripping drama that is The Bachelor, we see our bedroom door creep open. That snotty little nose took a late nap yesterday, so when it was bedtime she couldn’t sleep. Normally we pause our grown-up shows, because let’s be honest…nothing on TV is child proof these days! But it just so happened that she came in during what I think is the only true substance this show has had in the 20 years it has been steaming up the screen.
Nick, the bachelor, was on a hometown date with Rachel who is the first African-American to make it this far in the show. SPOILER ALERT…
She has officially been announced as the next Bachelorette!
Nick is talking to Rachel’s mother about his history dating black women, and he actually said something that stuck with me. He is not color-blind. He laughingly says he knows she is black. I completely agree with him. Our society preaches not seeing color, because that makes everyone equal. We are human. We are equal REGARDLESS of color, and we should SEE the beautiful array of skin tones in this world. (This is not a political statement about which lives matter.) Radley sat and watched. And as I have said before, that child doesn’t miss a beat! She has always HEARD everything, but now she LISTENS and asks questions. 1 MILLION questions! Sometimes they are tough to answer, but many times she will cut me off and say “you talk too much, mommy!” Not the first person to tell me that!!
Radley’s best friend is Bethany. Over the years they have known each other, a few times Rad has asked about why her skin color is different than Bethany’s. I have explained delicately and honestly, so that a young child can understand. And every time her response is that she wishes she had brown skin too. I break the news that her little freckled Irish face will never be brown, and that is what is so amazing. You are different and our differences make us beautiful. She accepts this answer and happily moves on.
Having a daughter has made me more aware of me…what I teach her, what she hears me say, how she sees me act. (Yes THIS is me more aware. For those that haven’t known me for years, can you IMAGINE how I was before?! Don’t…your imagination doesn’t need that today!!) As a magazine hoarder, our house is littered with glossy covers of beautiful faces and bodies. And I know there is the debate about what responsibility magazine editors have to accurately portraying women. But as the wife of a photographer (whose photo editing skills are a large part in why I married him) airbrush, photoshop whatever you want to call it gets a bad rap. Great lighting and a talented eye don’t get the credit they deserve! Fixing acne, a dimple in a leg, smoothing out a crease in a dress make that picture more appealing to the reader. There are definitely examples of editing gone wrong. But that just means you don’t notice when it is editing GONE RIGHT! As I have overshared before, my face went CRAZY when I was pregnant. If it wasn’t for Tate’s mad skills, there would be no evidence of my growing baby bump or the moment I kissed her sweet face for the first time. I can promise you don’t want to see the raw footage of those pics!!
It is MY responsibility to teach my daughter how everyone’s body is different. And they are ALL beautiful. Healthy is beautiful! She loves to exercise with me and show off her muscles. It isn’t a magazine that is teaching our children about ‘diets’ and what qualifies as ‘pretty’ and who is ‘fat’. It is us and what they hear everyday. Watching the Bachelor last night and listening to Rad describe ALL the women as pretty, not just the contestants but the moms too and the boys as handsome. BOOM! The sound of my heart exploding! Beauty comes in many colors, shapes and sizes and it is MY job to keep her mind open to that.