“Mommy, picture!” My daughter exclaimed.
“Mommy, Mommy, MOM-MY!” The intensity of her voice was rising. Her frustration was growing.
“No baby. Mommy doesn’t want to be in any pictures. Mommy is…”
I froze. What was I going to say: disheveled? A mess? Was I going to tell her I wasn’t pretty enough or made-up enough or “good enough” to be her subject? I mean, I felt that way: I hadn’t showered all day, my hair was tangled — and uncombed — and I was still rocking my PJs…from the night before. But I couldn’t say that. I couldn’t show her that. And so I paused. I took a breath. And I laid down.
“OK, baby. Picture.”
My daughter made clicking sounds as she took each photo. Sometimes the camera was aimed at me, sometimes the camera was on “selfie mode” — and my munchkin was snapping adborable shots of her forehead and curly locks — but most of the time it was aimed at her feet…or the floor. When we were done with her “photo sess” she wanted to review the images. She wanted to see what pictures she had taken.
I had planned to delete any photo containing my mug — and there were plenty. I had planned to delete the pic where I looked drunk (the one where my eyelids were heavy and my mouth hung open). I had planned to delete the close-ups (the ones which highlighted my acne and wrinkled skin). And I had planned to delete the ones which showed me — at 3:30 in the afternoon — sporting satin bottoms and a pink, cheetah print robe. But then we looked through them, together. And she smiled. She laughed. She thought they were great. She thought I was perfect.
In that moment I realized something: This photo wasn’t about me, it was about her. It was about her “just being a kid.” It was about her playing. It was about her imagining, and creating. It was about us engaging. It was about us just enjoying a moment. Just enjoying the moment.
Now when I see this photo, I laugh. I smile. And I think not about my faults or flaws, but about that afternoon: about the day I stopped caring and started living. About the joy I brought my daughter, and the love I allowed myself.
If only we could all see ourselves through our children’s eyes. Maybe then we would believe we are OK. Maybe then we would believe we are beautiful. Maybe then we will believe we are perfect.