Do I look like you? / by Carey Pace

Out of the blue the other night in the midst of some other activity, the Lady came up to me and asked with a most serious tone, "Momma, do I look like you?"

It really took me off guard. I wasn't expecting the question whatsoever, and I had no idea what had inspired it, thus knowing how to reply in a way that answered what she was really asking. Shawn frequently comments on how much the Boy looks like me and has the same profile, mannerisms, expressions, etc., and we jokingly call him my 'mini me', so my gut reaction was that she was seeking a feeling that she looks like this family, too. Perhaps she was feeling left out, which wouldn't be surprising of her at all. 

I replied to her with a simple, "yes! you do!" (Even though I actually don't see a resemblance to me in her. I see Shawn), and then I queried why she'd asked me this. She just answered, "I just wondered if I looked like you." The timing of all this didn't support further investigation, but I've continued to think about it ever since. 

I told Shawn about it last night, wanting him to know that something had sparked this in her heart so he'd be aware of the sensitivity. I know that the feeling of being "left out" is just a natural thing we all must learn to deal with, but I certainly don't want our family to ever be a source of that lonely emotion. He disagreed with my assessment, however. He said he thought she asked because she thought I was beautiful. "Rubbish!" I said. Well, actually, I made the pssssshhhhh sound I make that means "rubbish!" in my head, but you get the idea. 

The Lady came straight to me when she woke today. She's simply the sweetest thing first thing in the morning. Shawn and I had the opportunity to go out to dinner last night, so she didn't see me before she went to bed and she missed me most dreadfully, according to her. The conversation we'd had late last night came to mind and so I asked her, "Lady, do you remember asking me the other day about whether you looked like me?"

She became more serious in her demeanor and sheepishly replied "yes". So I asked her "can you tell me what made you ask me that?"

"Because I think you are beautiful. And I want to be, too."

That is truly exactly what she said. 

[1] I was wrong, and Shawn was right. (yes, I said it. 'happens more than i'd like. )

[2] I cannot tell you how wonderful it made me feel on the inside that this is her view of me. 

[3] how universal this desire to be beautiful is! and oh, how early it is placed in a female heart. She's newly seven years old. Seven. I've done everything I can to protect her from the culture's emphasis on outward beauty, and I've affirmed the things about her I find so strikingly beautiful daily. Still, she needs to hear it over and over again. 

[4] I'd give anything to look like HER. I love her eyes and her hair and her smile and her grace and I just find the shape of her little body to be so stunningly beautiful. And she wants to look like ME.

[5] It sorrows my heart to know that she's already feeling a burden regarding her beauty.  She's already experiencing doubt that she posses it.  Where have I failed as her mother to instill within her the proper value of her physical beauty as opposed to what resides in her heart?