On Beauty from a Preschooler

Lil' Miss

Over the last couple of days, Lil Miss has been making some pretty intense comments about her appearance. She comments on how our hair is so much alike, and how she has brown eyes like the honey that I keep on the counter. I love these observations of hers, but one that she kept making always made me feel uneasy. She wanted to know why she was light-skinned and I was dark-skinned, and her twin, Sir Twizzler, looked like chocolate. 

I didn’t have an answer. 

So I went with the straightforward. For what I’ve learned from having four children, most of the time, giving them straight answers is the right thing to do. They can smell stalling like a dead rat on a summer day. They can also smell fear of subject matter. Which then makes them press forward with a perseverance that only politicians have been known to have. 

I had everyone put their hands in a group, backside up. As we all put our hands in, Lil Miss’ eyes lit up, and I was surprised with what she said next.

We’re ALL like honey! 

A smile crossed my face for many reasons. The first one had to do with her being able to see the beauty in all of our skin. The honey brown hues, with inflections of sunshine and some hints of bronze. She marveled at the slight changes in color, from my skin to hers, to her big sister. The small velvety wrinkles that riddled the backs of our hands and knuckles. 

She seemed satisfied for the moment, and skipped off merrily to play more with her siblings in our basement area. 

Her departure from the room left a silence that was a bit too much for me. It left me to my thoughts and my own insecurities about beauty, and if I’m doing a horrible job on showing them just how wonderful we are. Our skin. Our hair. Our eyes. Our deep voices. Our hearty laughs. Our lisps. Our full lips. Our individual beauty. 

This is the type of thing that I think that any mom may go through. Black, White, Middle Eastern, Irish, African, Asian. We all struggle with living up to the standards that are so often pushed in our faces when the folks that we should be looking at are the ones that rushed to us when we were crying late in the evening. Or who let us nuzzle in their chest when it was time for a nap. Those hands that stroked our hair as we read to them on a lazy Saturday afternoon. 

I want Lil Miss and the Ladybug to always walk in their beauty, because as they have always taught me from their impromptu fashion shows, they are marvelous honey!