Celebrating The One-Legged Lady
|My sweet daughter. A lady who always speaks her mind.|
I love being a mom, really I do. There are moments when it can be a bit challenging though. Moments when your daughter points out things that are best left unsaid. Especially when you are in a public place.
"Look! She only has ONE leg!!!"
"Mom, that guy's eyes are so creepy!"
"Hey!!! Why is the fat lady shopping in that motorized cart? Is she too fat to walk???"
We were in Target once when something terrible happened. The cashier was a woman in her mid 30s & as we inched closer to the register my stomach dropped. There were people lined up behind us so there was no way of escaping what I knew was about to happen. The female cashier had a beard. Not just peach fuzz, some real facial hair. Dear God, please don't let Sophie say anything. PLEASE!
Next thing I know my darling daughter yells, "Mom! That lady has a beard! No, really she has hair on her face.". She didn't say it or whisper. The volume was full on yelling. Ugh.
Desperate to get her quiet I found myself saying, "Yes she does. But doesn't she have pretty eyes?". It was an attempt to patch what I am sure was a painful blow to this poor lady who just got called out for her hormone imbalances. Thankfully Sophie agreed that her eyes were pretty. Checking out was still a painful process. Do I apologize to the lady? Do I act like my daughter didn't just publicly shame her? I ended up just handing her the credit card & getting out without mentioning it. Walking to the car I realized that most people, women especially, do that too. Focus on what is wrong not what is right. Focus on the peach fuzz on their chin instead of their crystal blue eyes. Most of us don't know how to celebrate imperfection. Especially in ourselves. Now when Sophie points out the old lady with shaking arms, we talk about how pretty her long fingers are. The lady with burned skin on her face actually has a beautiful smile. The child in her class who is autistic may do things that she thinks are strange, but he also has a contagious laugh. I don't want my daughter to be like me. Secretly, I see all of the imperfections in people and get disgusted. Especially with my own imperfections. I want my kids to know how to celebrate the woman with one leg. How to praise her for what IS beautiful about her. Not just so they can be nice, but because it will be them one day. One day they will realize that they aren't perfect. None of us are. Our bodies carry more fat than we would like, our athletic abilities fall short, we didn't grow as tall as we wish we had and our hard work won't always show on a test score. I want my kids to admire the woman with one leg for her strength, because one day they will realize that they are not perfect themselves. They will discover their missing "leg". And I want them to celebrate anyway.