She must have told me 1,000 times today that she loved me. Hug after hug, kisses on my cheek. She grabbed my face to make me bow my head so she could kiss my forehead. She held my hand, my leg, helped me coach volleyball today, cleaned her room, and then told me a million more times how much she loved me. She told me I was the best mommy ever, her favorite person. Today was a good day, one of those days that a parent doesn’t always have, one where they feel appreciated. It was a good day.
And then tonight, after the bath, as I was helping her get out, she was still happy and amazing and perfect. Her perfect little four year old self. Then, as she stepped out of the tub, she sucked her cute little belly in as far as she could and said, “I wish my belly was flat like this.” I was stunned, I had no words at that moment. My heart sank. Why? Before I could utter any words, she said, “I wish my legs were skinny. Then I could run faster. When I sit down in Daddy’s car, my legs get really big. I wish they were skinnier.” Where is this coming from, did I do this?
I grew up with body image issues, it’s quite honestly something that is forever on one’s mind. Once it’s there, it is always there. Every time you eat anything, you think about it. Every time you exercise, or don’t exercise, you think about it. I’ve grown up, become a mother, and realized how unimportant a flat belly or skinny legs really are and it has been a practice of mine to preach health and happiness, even though the other stuff is still there...on your mind. I’ve tried to be an example for them. We stay active, we love sports....we also love pizza and cake, but that’s beside the point, everything in moderation right?! They watch me coach sports, they watch us play sports, they run with me, ride bikes, play basketball....But where did I go wrong, it broke my heart.
I explained to my beautiful daughter that bodies all look different and she could run faster than a lot of people, and if she didn’t that’s okay too! I told her that her body is so healthy and the way she looks means she is strong! I said it all with a smile, even though I was crying on the inside. She’s so perfect, that’s all I could think of.... YOU ARE SO AMAZINGLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. But not enough girls believe it. It is easier to believe the negative, that there’s always something to fix, that you should always be working on something, changing something, being better, doing better. And it starts at age 4?
Here’s the thing girls, and yes, as I write this I’m sure there’s a special guy out there that I will hear from soon that is probably going to tell me that I should believe the good things as well....but it is hard....but again, here’s the thing.... YOU ARE SO AMAZINGLY PERFECT. My daughter, at age 4, is one of my biggest inspirations in life because she has always marched to her own beat. As a baby, her eyes lit up an entire room, so bold and beautiful, and she’s always so happy. She has never cared what people thought, she wears her princess dress to play baseball and it is AWESOME!!! My thoughts are consumed with this fear that “they’ve got her.” They say she needs to be...and she will try to be....
I hope when she wakes up tomorrow her worries of not being perfect are gone forever. I hope she dreams of playing ball, playing with horses, riding her bike, and everything else she loves, and when she wakes up she will feel perfect again. Because she is so great, so inspiring, and so perfect.