“From what?” I asked.
“From this, of course,” as she shoved a little thumb in my general direction and pointed to a red mark the size of a pin prick. I smiled with a “Looks terribly serious.” She nodded a bit and sighed, “So do you like the picture, Mommy?”
I squished her a little and then looked down into her big, brown eyes while I melted into my reply, “I think it’s beautiful, sis.” To which she scrunched up her button nose, looked up at me and said, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”
And just like that, off she skipped…and there I stood, taking in an all too familiar inventory.
My dirty yoga pants. My newly drawn surgery scars. My less-than-lovely purple toenails.
My this and that. My what and what. My blah to the blah, blah, blah…
But something kept tapping at my heart…it was her little voice echoing in my mind with such unabashed certainty, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”
No hesitation. No pause. No time for inventory.
In her eyes, I was beautiful. Not because I was sporting a new pedicure or a perfect body or a fabulous new pair of jeans. I was beautiful because I loved every single bit of her.
Be it in kissing a nonexistent boo-boo or cutting the crusts off her sandwich or taking her to the bathroom at Target four times in thirty minutes. Be it in squishing her close when she cried or playing the Cinderella game 20 times or taking the 10 outfits she’d tried on in a day out of the dirty laundry. Be it in anything so utterly mundane that the world might find it unimportant.
For her, it meant everything.
And somewhere in all that complete and total love, she found beautiful and made me see beautiful too.
For a mama’s beauty isn’t a put-together, perfect picture, chasing-youth kind of a deal. A mama’s beauty is in her broken---be it her body, her heart or her laugh-lined face. It grows beside hospital beds and sleepless nights and broken curfews and shattered little dreams. It is often forged in tears and exhaustion and the precious effort to put one blessed foot in front of the other. It is not reflected in something so insignificant as a mirror but rather, it is most clearly seen in the eyes of Jesus as she faceplants at the foot of His throne.
Mamas, it is this kind of beauty that our sons and our daughters need from us. So that when he endeavors to love the mama of his children, he sees her dark circles and worn out body as something breathtaking and precious. And so that when she looks at her stretch marks, she does not wince or retreat, but instead she sees beautiful.
So. That. When.
Years from now, as she comes to me frayed by the daily of mamahood, I can sit her down, look deeply into those big, brown eyes and say, “Let me tell you the story of a little girl and a picture. Her mama with bouffant hair and she, with googly eyes dancing. Let me tell you about her scrunched up nose, her sweet little hand and the words that changed it all. Yes, my sweet love, let me tell you a story…”
A story of just you and me being beautiful together.