“Mommy, am I pretty?”
In a world where things were more and more aesthetic, Sofia had grown concerned about her looks. She didn’t need to be the prettiest girl at school, nor did she aspire to be prettier than anyone else, she simply hoped to be as pretty as the rest of her friends.
Claudia sighed. She imagined this day would come sooner or later, though she had hoped for later. It killed her to hear self doubt enveloping the voice of her 8 year old daughter. She wanted to take her into her arms and assure her she was beautiful, but that would simply add wood to the fire. Little boys and girls were placing more and more value on their physical appearance these days and compliments like, “you are beautiful,” only reinforced the absurd concept that physical beauty was a virtue.
Fighting the urge Claudia said, “Do you remember that time we went on vacation to the south, and camped for the entire month?”
“Of course I do mom,” Sofia replied.
“It was pretty amazing wasn’t it?”
“Yep, more amazing than any other vacation.”
“And do you remember the night when we laid on our backs and watched the stars shoot across the sky?”
“How could I forget. I wished on every single one!”
“That was pretty incredible wasn’t it?” Claudia continued.
“It was one of the most incredible nights of my life so far,” Sofia responded.
“And do you remember when that terribly ugly dog decided to adopt us for the month and everyone said he was horrible, but you thought he was the most beautiful dog you had ever seen?”
“Billy was not ugly mom!” Sofia exclaimed.
Well, all of those pretty amazing and pretty incredible things you experienced, all of those beautiful moments you continue to experience, can only be appreciated because you encompass beauty. Not the kind of beauty that can be found in the shape of your eyes or the color of your hair, but true beauty, the kind you wear on the inside. We are mere projections of what is inside of us. Like mirrors, we simply perceive in others what we carry inside. And you, my sweet girl, are filled up to the brim with beauty, which is why you see the beauty in all things. Even that ugly dog you named Billy.
Sofia looked as though she was about to cry.
Claudia held her breath. She hoped she had been clear, hoped she had sent the right message.
With tears in her eyes Sofia looked up at her mom and said, “so that means you are filled up with beauty too mommy.”
Written by Stephanie Cariker
Director at English in Rosario