7:30am- I walked into the bathroom to pull my hair back before going downstairs to get the kids breakfast. Written across the mirror, with the Expo marker that we keep in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity, was written in my husband's hand-writing,"You are beautiful."
Soon after we were married, we started the tradition of writing notes on the bathroom mirror for eachother. Sometimes they are reminders, sometimes they are apologies for thoughtless words said, but most often they are love notes written quickly on our way out the door in the morning. This is one of our treasured traditions. He had apparently wrote these words as I slept before he left for work.
"He obviously hasn't seen me this morning or he would have never written that," I thought to myself as I looked at my reflection.
I had gone to bed the night before with wet hair, which as most women know, is the key ingredient for epic bed head. My face, swollen from both pregnancy and sleep, looked tired and haggard. Any summertime glow I had from my summer's tan has long since faded, leaving a winter pallor in it's place. The contrast between the words written on the mirror and my reflection staring back at me seemed cruelly ironic.
But then almost immediately I thought of what the past 13 years of marriage to this man has taught me and I corrected myself. "Yes, he would have. If he were here he would have said it himself. He has seen me like this and much worse and has never made me feel any less for it."
After the kids were off to school I headed back into the bathroom to get ready for a day of running errands and grocery shopping. As I put on my make-up and fixed my unruly hair, I once again read his message.
"How ironic," I thought. With no make-up on and with a crying toddler on my hip, my husband makes me feel beautiful like the most beautiful woman alive. And the moment I turn on my computer or television, or step outside with my make-up and high heels on, the bombardment begins- the bombardment of idealistic images of beauty portrayed by the media that make a woman feel inferior, as though she will never be enough. We know that most of the images have been digitally or surgically manipulated, and yet we still buy into the elusive myth, using our self-esteem as currency.
Healthy is never skinny enough.
Age makes you irrelevant.
If you don't have it, get it.
If you've got it, flaunt it.
If they're small, make 'em bigger.
If it sags, make it perky.
How I pray that my children will someday find companions who see beauty in them the way my husband sees it in me. That what is seen in them transcends beyond what can be seen on the outside. How I pray that they will also see the beauty in themselves. That they will ignore the cruel and ruthless voices that come from the outside and sometimes even from within themselves. And sometimes those voices from within ourselves shout louder and more cruelly than any of the others.
Kiddos, you are beautiful, but not because of your stunning eyes or kind smiles. It's not your thick hair or long eyelashes either, as much as I do love all those things. While those things might make a person look beautiful, you are beautiful simply because you are you.