I stood quietly just outside my master bathroom watching her. She didn’t know I was there and likely would have been a little embarrassed had she known. My daughter Kaili was a fairly private little girl and I always tried to respect this aspect of her personality. But today, I couldn’t stop watching as she quietly brushed her ever growing locks of light brown hair, stopping every so often to gaze at herself in the mirror, try a new hair style, or make a silly face.
I watched as she took out my makeup bag and searched through it pulling out every interesting item she found until most of my counter was covered. She tried my bronzer, put on and took off many a shade of eye shadow and did a surprisingly good job of applying my way too bright pink lip stick.
At age eight, Kaili was starting to experiment more and more with my makeup, and even though it made my heart skip a beat, I remembered how I too loved everything about make up at her age. There is also something very magical about a little girl playing in her mother’s make up, don’t you think?
My only rule with makeup is to have fun, but don’t wear it outside the house! There are many times Kaili questions my decision and I always tell her the same thing, “because God made you beautiful just the way you are!” This always makes her giggle because she and I both know this is really my way of saying “not until you are a teenager young lady!”
As I watched her, I noticed how she occasionally paused and gazed intensely at her image in the mirror. Critiquing her hair, her chin, her smile. She made a few innocent comments but I could tell she was starting it. She was starting to do that thing we all do at some point in our lives….she was starting to pick out her flaws. It made my heart hurt and also made me wonder when it happens. When does the innocence leave and the fear of fitting in arrive? When does the harsh reality of not everyone will think we’re as perfect as our parents do become so obvious?
I hated watching it happen. I wanted her little heart to stay the way it was….pure, sweet, and innocent. I wanted to grab her and tell her how smart and amazing she was! I wanted her to always believe she was perfect the way she was made.
I walked away before she caught me or the tears began to fill my eyes and wondered if I was doing enough to teach my daughter her significance is not determined by what is on the outside or who the world tells her she needs to be. Will she learn that from me?
This world will tell her she isn’t good enough, I want her to know she is enough simply because she is a child of God.
This world will tell her she should be prettier, I want her to know “pretty” truly exists deep in one’s heart.
This world will tell her she has to be skinnier, I want her to love the body she has been given, eat healthy and treat it well.
This world will tell her to do better, be smarter, to make more money. I want her to know how to love people, serve others, and act humbly.
This world will tell her she has to be someone she isn’t to fit in. I want her to know she is perfectly and wonderfully made.
This world will tell her she is a failure if she isn’t good at something. I want her to know we ALL fail but it’s the getting back up that matter the most.
This world will knock her down. It will throw punches at her and it can leave her feeling empty. But as her mom, I want her to know she is always supported, valued, and loved no matter what she looks like or does. Isn’t that what we all desire for our kids?
I’m trying everyday to be better, teach more, give more grace and love stronger. I try to go out in public without make up, or with crazy hair and not care. I try to act silly, dance when people are watching, take care of my health, and be a positive, godly example to my daughter. I don’t try to be the best mom, I try to be a real mom! A mom who shows my daughter inward beauty, the hard in life when it’s needed and leads by example. I try and maybe my trying is all she really needs to see.