Yes, I am proud of my daughter but there’s something bugging me.
“Can I have one more smile before I go?” he asked, his blue eyes twinkling, a wide grin plastered on his kind, weathered face.
Emi turned her head slightly to her left and shifted her own pair of bright blue eyes coyly back at her new friend. The corners of her mouth slowly turned upward. Checkmate. She had just delivered her ‘small smile’. It’s possibly the cutest one in her repertoire and not surprisingly, she now had this elderly gentleman in the palm of her squishy little hand.
He laughed and then turned to me, “you must be one proud mother!”
I froze. I wanted to ask him why? Why do you say that? I mean, of course I’m proud of her, but he had known us for maybe fifteen minutes all up and it wasn’t really what he said, it was the way he said it – with such conviction. As if he knew Emi and had been privy to all of her achievements to date.
I managed to stutter, “Ahhh yeah, I guess I am very proud of her.”
To which he responded, “she is just so beautiful – she is one gorgeous girl!”
So that was it. He felt that I should be proud of my daughter because she is beautiful. And she is – no doubt about it.
She’s been blessed with creamy, smooth skin and rosy, pink cheeks. Striking blue eyes and pretty little lashes that curl up from under her heavy lids. Her hair colour is somewhere between brown and blonde – it actually looks golden in the sunshine. Her eyebrows are perfectly formed, her pink lips full, and she has just the most delightful button nose I’ve ever seen. When she smiles, her eyes crinkle in the corners and she has a small dimple underneath her right cheek. Spunk.
In the early days my husband and I would turn to each other and ask, “she’s cute right? Like not just to us, but she’s cute to other people too – or are we completely blinded by our love?” We’d reassure each other that indeed she is cute because the lady at the supermarket said so – and “she was really sincere – she meant it, I could tell babe.” Eventually we stopped asking each other. Deep down we didn’t really care and there were much more important things to think about. Like the fact that she screamed for five hours a day for the first three months and needed at least an hour of rocking to go down each night.
I liked this bald old man we had befriended on the train. He was sweet and completely besotted by my 10-month-old daughter. He offered her his hand and she curled her own little hand around his index finger. When he turned away she would wave at him and let out a series of yelps until he once again gave her his undivided attention. It was adorable.
But what he said bothered me. Yes I am proud of her – I am her mother and she fills me with pride every single day for a variety of reasons. The thing is, Emi is so much more than her looks and I want her to know that she is so much more than her looks. I want her to know that I am proud of her, not just the fact that she is pretty.