“Mama, I wish I had long, straight yellow hair and blue eyes.”
That one sentence halted my world, Matrix like. In the microseconds that followed, I was forced to swallow the bitter pill that was her first yearning to be something other than herself. That one sentence had the potential to become the first brick in the foundation of the hateful self-doubt jail that so many of us women have built and locked ourselves in. That one sentence needed to be faced, head on.
I responded, faking nonchalance, “Tell me, why do you want long, straight, yellow hair and blue eyes?”
She replied (somewhat condescendingly), “Because EVERYONE knows that yellow hair and blue eyes are the prettiest kind.”
As I mentally beat Barbie to smithereens with a meat mallet and cursed Disney for Cinderella and Rapunzel, I dug deep for the right words to say to her.
I continued detangling her delicious ringlets as I enquired, “Can I ask you a question?” She nodded, as I continued, “Who do you think is the prettiest lady in the world?”
Crossing fingers and toes and praying to whoever might be up there listening, I waited.
Grinning, she exclaimed, “YOU are, Mummy!”
Exhaling, I grinned and pulled her on to my lap. “Well, Baby G,” I said, “do you know what makes me very very happy?”
Curiously, she asked, “What?”
I answered, “When I look in the mirror every day, I see my brown eyes and brown hair and I give myself the biggest smile, because they are the exact same colour as yours. I feel so happy because that must mean that I am beautiful, just like you!”
She looked at me again, this time much more closely, then she jumped up and grabbed the hand mirror. Looking from my face to her own, holding a strand of her hair against mine, she inhaled sharply and her eyes filled with wonder.
She put down the mirror and purposefully took my face in her two soft little baby-like hands and then she uttered words that will forever be diamonds in my memory bank.
With awe, she declared, “Mummy, we’ve got the same beautiful!”