I watch my daughter closely as she watches herself in the mirror.
She looks just like me.
I watch her as she looks at her dark eyebrows. Her front tooth with a groove on the bottom edge. She studies the mole on her arm she says looks like the state of Texas. She makes faces and watches her expressions change. She examines her arms, her legs, her belly.
I watch as she pats her belly proudly. As she mouths the words to a silent song and pumps her arms in the air. I watch she gives her reflection a sly smile and a thumbs up. As she turns around and shakes her bottom in a weird little dance, tapping her foot to a beat I can’t hear.
I watch her and it is like watching a child me. An eight year old me.
My mom often calls her by my name, her eyes playing a trick on her even though the child before her is a generation away from the other dark haired girl she raised. The trick succeeds because she looks just like me.
We run into friends and they comment on my daughter being my mini-me. When I lose her in the museum I ask if people have seen a little girl, “about this tall, she looks just like me”. People see her at school events or around town and recognize her immediately as my daughter. She looks just like me.
So when she sees me looking at myself in the mirror she sees me smile. She sees self love. She hears positive comments from my lips. She sees me smooth my hair or check my outfit but doesn’t see me flatten my tummy or sigh at my bottom or the tired skin around my eyes.
She watches me as I appreciate all of my parts. She’ll never see or hear me pick myself apart.
Because she looks just like me. When she sees me love myself, she grows up with the permission to love herself. As she is. Just as she should be.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Do you see flaws? Or the perfectly imperfect?
Do you see what you don’t have? Or all of the amazing things that you do?
Do you have a part you prefer to hide? Or do you love to show off your amazing parts?
Do you see age or scars as something to escape? Or a road map of the years you’ve lived well?
Do you see the version of beauty that is sold to you? Or the version you have defined for yourself?