Blogger and mother Alyson Herzig has the challenge and the blessing of raising a daughter. As most moms can attest, there can be a lot of trying and teaching moments when you raise a little girl. As she shared with Huffington Post, finding the right words can sometimes be tricky.
My 9-year-old daughter slinks into my office. It is the night before the dreaded spelling test, and as usual we are now just reviewing the words. She struggles with a few as I reluctantly quiz her. I hand back the list and suggest she take a few more minutes studying before we continue. In one graceful movement she nods, tucks her long brown hair behind her ear, leans forward, and takes the paper from my outstretched hand.
I turn back to my desk and begin typing on my laptop. My mind is racing with all the things I need to work on; the spelling list is not one of them. I flash to when I was a child. My mother never quizzed me, but I am not my mother and she is not I.
My light-brown-eyed beauty has stopped reviewing her words and I can sense a question forming. I glance over at her. Her brow furrows and she debates if she should say the words out loud. She snuggles deep into the chair that once graced her nursery, comforted by the familiarity of her rocker.
"Mom, have you ever felt not beautiful?"
A million thoughts cross my mind in the time I take to turn my chair to face her. What's the appropriate answer to this? Why is she asking me this? Did someone tell her she is not beautiful? Is she valuing her worth based upon other individual's measures? Or, in the simplicity of a 9-year-old's mind, does she just want to know if I have never felt beautiful?
As I turn my attention, and chair, towards her I struggle to answer the question. The first words I say will have an impact on her. I answer her honestly.
"Yes, I have felt not beautiful before."
"People say I am a mirror image of you, then am I not beautiful?"
I worry I said the wrong thing. This is such a delicate conversation. I want her to realize beauty is more than the reflection in the mirror. A woman's worth lies in her brain, not in her face. But my daughter is not asking about inner beauty; to her this is a separate entity. She speaks of only outer beauty, the visual. It will be years before she realizes inner beauty is more important than outer.
To read the rest of Alyson's story on Huffington Post, click here.
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