I love it when a friend blogs the thing I wanted to say, so I mostly don’t have to. In this case, my friend Sarah of Wifeytini (when I mentioned friends I made via the #spinabifida hashtag, she’s one of them) took on the ridiculousness of the latest in a long line of fearmongering about how we’re all ruining our children by praising/not praising them. Apparently, calling my daughters “pretty girls” is going to make them bad at math and science, and by golly, Verizon is out to save them from me and my destructive compliments.
My girls are heart-stoppingly, breath-takingly gorgeous. Seriously, it makes me sound insane, but I just MARVEL at them. I am in awe of them. I think they are beautiful miracles. Through seeing them through the eyes of love, I’ve even learned to look at myself with a loving gaze, too. And when I look at them and am just STRUCK by their beauty, I’m going to say so. Because they are. And they should know it.
Of course, I don’t want them to think the entirety of their worth comes from their appearance. They are beautiful because of who they are, they aren’t who they are because of their beauty, if that makes sense.
You know what else they are? Hilarious. And I tell them so. Kind. And I tell them so. Smart. And I tell them so. Silly. And I tell them so.
Instead of lists of things not to say, instead of making us afraid to remark upon our children’s self-evident beauty, instead of pitting beauty against brains (because seriously, my sister is a fashion-blogging scientist, so don’t even TELL me that the two are mutually exclusive), I’m just going to keep doing what I do: being a human in a human relationship with human children. I’m going to play in the mud with them AND play dress up. We’re going to bake cookies AND do science experiments (and hey, guess what! cooking is chemistry!). We’re going to play with rocks and baby dolls and blocks and turtles. We’ll pick flowers and dig for worms. We’ll grow veggies in our yard. We’re going to read books and have adventures in imagination. And I will do everything in my power to make sure they know that they are beautiful, smart, funny, and kind. Because they are. Because they will be. And I love them for every part of themselves.