“She’s beautiful!” they tell me. And I know she is, not just in my eyes, but by all conventional American standards, she is. Chestnut eyes, straight nose, high cheekbones, supple lips, long flowing dark, but sun-kissed hair, and easily tanned skin. She’s gorgeous.
“She’s a mini you, gorgeous like her mommy”, they say.
“Daddy’s got his work cut out for him,” they continue.
“Hope he carries a bat”, it goes on.
And it’s fine. I beam with pride at the shallow, and ultimately meaningless compliments, like any other mother would. But she’s so much more than that. And that’s the true, total package. She works hard, brings home straight A report cards. Is artistic, and creative, and thinks outside the box. She’s a friend to everyone, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful. Easy going, quick to lend a hand…obviously I could go on and on.
Skylar, Age 11
My point is, that I relish it as my own success. As a mother, I want nothing more than the best for her and for her to be the best, at everything. I’ve never understood the theory that mothers and daughters clash because once a daughter comes along the focus is suddenly taken off of the women who had it on her since childhood. Essentially that her mini-replacement has come along and she’s no longer the star of the show.
What?! As a mother I truly don’t understand this. And I think if you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t have had children at all, at least not in this stage of your life because it seems to me that if you aren’t able to put them before yourself you can’t have their best interest at heart. I want my daughter to be prettier than me, stronger than me, smarter than me, and more successful. I want her to have it ALL.
“I’ll bet she looks just like you at that age, Becky”, someone recently told me. Ha! She couldn’t have been more wrong. I was gawky with no style, big glasses, and a bad perm. No, my daughter seems to have not had to endure the same awkward phase that plagued me from the ages of eight to fifteen.
Me, age 10 with mid 90’s
style choker and Seinfeld Puffy Shirt.
Conversely, I’ve also endured comments related to my daughter’s looks as more of a consolation prize rather than a compliment. When Miss Elliott was alive, I distinctly remember one person, upon learning of her terminal status remarked , “Well she sure is pretty, and you can love her anyway”.
I mean, thank goodness she was pretty too, right…or there would be no reason to love my dying child as I love my heathy one.
Miss Elliott, age 3 years 3 1/2 months
Okay, I know people don’t mean the stupid things they say to sound so ridiculously degrading, but honestly it’s so tiring that sometimes I would rather they just stay silent. And if they simply can’t muster up that ability and feel compelled to have to say something, let it be a simple I’m sorry.
I know you can’t imagine. I know you don’t know how I do it. I know (insert your own meaningless platitude here), but none of it matters or changes the situation. A simple I’m sorry, is really the only thing of value you have to give me anyway.
And for the record, Miss Elliott was pretty. She had bright green eyes, milky smooth skin and hair far lighter than I could have ever imagined any of my children being born with (all three thanks to her Daddy’s Irish ancestry). And I loved the hell out of her. I still do.
And I wanted better for her, too. Better than for me. And do you know what? She got it. She knew nothing in her Three Short Years but unconditional love. She never endured pain, rejection, or abuse. She lived and died a perfect being with a pure soul.
These things, more than just our little girls being pretty should be what we celebrate as accomplishments in parenthood, and life.