McKenna has been looking at herself in the mirror a lot lately. Not just a little check of her fairy wings or wiggle of a loose tooth but long investigations of her hair, her freckles and the monstrous tooth growing into the space where there once were two.
I sat at the edge of her bath the other day and she asked about the sun and if it would start making her freckles go away or if it would keep making them come out. She explained that her brother doesn’t have freckles and his hair isn’t brown right Mommy? His hair is pretty yellow?
Parker is not plagued with anxiety and is great at sight words and his legs are like two toothpicks with a marble in the middle for a knee. McKenna can shout out long words and has beautiful hair that streaks auburn in the summer and has strong legs that give up on her sometimes.
I want her to love it all. I don’t want her to ask if she can be just like her brother or like anyone really. I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and say “la, la, la, la, la” as she professed the ways she could be different or yell out a panicky “Not yet! You have to love you just like I do for 20 more years at least.”
As I washed her long wavy hair I explained how much I love her freckles and her pink skin and what a good reader she is and how nice it was when she cut up her little brother’s lunch. I talked to her about loving every bit of herself and reminded myself to rinse, wash and repeat this conversation even when I’m not hit in the face with a need for it.
After our bath time discussion we went on with our day. I untagged a picture of myself on Facebook because it magnified my crooked smile, I screwed up dinner and cursed myself for not being a crock pot mom and I envied the perfectly highlighted hair of a woman at the grocery store. My hair never stays the blonde I want, it always turns too golden.
I’m working on the second half of my thirties and I still can’t do what I’ve asked my six year-old to do. I haven’t embraced my crooked smile or the shade my hair refuses to let go of. At school drop off I wish I was on time like the mom already pulling out of the parking lot and at pick up I wish I had the discipline to get to the gym like the mom still in her cute workout gear.
Instead of embracing my quirks I spend all sorts of mental energy trying to change them, hide them and delete them. As the mother of a daughter who is quickly honing her skills at finding her flaws I think it’s time to work on me too. I love every single bit of the little person she is and can’t imagine why she wouldn’t love it all too. Maybe the first step in helping her love her two left feet and adorably quirky ways is to embrace my own.
My plan for the week is to not compare my outfit to anyone else’s and make peace with the fact that I will never have a meal plan and let myself off the hook when I forget my plan because I’m not a planner either. I’m mostly just going to work on liking myself instead of changing myself and showing my daughter how to do the same.
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