“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
– Abraham Lincoln
I wanted to write a snappy post. Something a person could scroll through between tube stops and smile at. So I embarked on a list of the little – and slightly bigger- lessons I’d most like to spew out to my darling daughter as she grows up. She will no doubt inherit the bulk of my self-help literature should she choose to indulge in it’s joys, so I will not be regurgitating any of that out. No no, these lessons will be far more personal, straight from the heart, with my little girl in mind.
Categories of lessons include, but are not limited to:
FACE & BODY
LIFE IN GENERAL
BOYS AND SEX
HEALTH & WELLNESS
SHOPPING & OTHER BONDING ACTIVITIES
Today, I begin with FACE & BODY.
Dearest darling Maia,
1.) LEAVE YOUR EYEBROWS ALONE.
You have great hair. On your head, and on your face, you have great hair. Do not touch it.
I was 12 years old (so basically a foetus) when I decided to take the matter of my facial hair into my own hands. I got carried away. So carried away that one may have seen me in the street and thought “Who needs eyebrows anyway?” was my mantra. They were not only pencil thin, they were also probably less than half their natural length too, starting not above the corners of my eyes, but more directly above the centres of each. One friend joked that they might never grow back. It was awful. They did, and now I love my eyebrows. So you can understand my wish for you to keep the plucking to a minimum. You are four and you have perfect eyebrows. They meet in the middle, like two caterpillars making out.
2.) YOU HAVE A VERY BEAUTIFUL FACE, BUT AN EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL SOUL. BEAR THIS IN MIND.
You have a very beautiful face. You just do. My mother and all her people drummed into my brain from the minute I was born that I was beautiful and I have made sure to do the same with you.
Please accept and adore every part of your beautiful face. Even the parts that you’re unsure of.
I have, mostly, always liked my face. Occasionally I see photos of myself and think “GAH IS THAT MY FACE, THAT IS NOT WHAT I LOOK LIKE IN MY HEAD”, but mostly, I like my face. I am no model, I do not have perfect features, I am not in denial. But you should know that beauty does not lie in perfection, beauty lies in celebrating your imperfections. The happiest people are not the most aesthetically “under-society’s-standards-of-beautiful” people, but the ones who go through life as their most authentic selves. This is cheesy and yet undeniably true. Beauty does not equate to happiness.
*And yes, it is true when they say it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It is who you are, not what you look like on the outside that really matters. I mean really we are all just bones and organs and flesh with souls aren’t we. A face is just that, a face, after all. It’s what you do with it, and how you live that counts. Create many laughter lines please. You are already very good at this.
3.) MOISTURISER, USE IT, DAILY, EVERYWHERE EXCEPT THE OBVIOUS NO-GO-ZONES.
This one was passed down from Grandma and she has amazing skin all-over so..post-shower, day in day out: MOISTURISE GIRL.
That is all.
4.) YOUR BODY IS SACRED, SO TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT.
It’s a big word isn’t it, sacred. But I mean it, treat your body well and it will return the favour. This probably won’t mean much to you for at least another ten to fifteen years, but your body really is a temple. I won’t spew on about how important it is for living your best life, because it is simply common sense: The healthier you are, the more fun stuff you can do, the happier you are going to be.
You are already very good at taking care of your body when it comes to nutrition. You seem to know when to stop eating. You like your fruit and veg and somehow – you’ll have to teach me how one day just how you do this – you can have a slice of cake and then just, miraculously STOP. Everything in moderation, well done you.
There may be periods of time in your life where you don’t like your body as much. This is inevitable, we all go through those days/weeks/years, whatever. But at the end of the day, your attitude towards your body is up to you my love, only you can decide how you are going to treat yourself – mind, body and soul – and how you are going to feel about your body.
So far so good, you love yourself, and that is how it should always be.
5.) PHOTOS ARE LOVE
Now you may have gathered, that your Grandma and I, we like capturing the little moments. We like capturing a lot of the little moments.
I grew up as an only child and Grandma LOVED taking photos of me. Mostly I was fine with it, over the years I became quite the poser, highly confident in front of the camera. However, there were times as an adolescent where it became tiresome and I just did not feel like having my photo taken. I do recall Grandma losing her shit at the top of Ben Nevis -a mountain in Scotland- because I was getting rather grumpy and refusing to pose for shots on a pile of rocks. (I was tired from the 4 mile, uphill climb and felt she’d taken a sufficient amount already, plus it wasn’t exactly beautiful scenery at the top, just a foggy mist and lots of grey..). She stormed down the mountain and Grandad and I didn’t see her till we got to the bottom, over two hours later. So I do know how you feel when you say “Mummy why do you need another photo?!”.
As tiring as it can sometimes be – and many would regard it as over the top- I will always be grateful that Grandma is so stubborn about documenting the special moments. She is feisty when it comes to the camera. If she wants a shot taken, THAT SHOT IS BEING TAKEN. Thanks to this burning desire to document life, we now have dozens of photo albums brimming with, well, love.
Because all I see when I look at all those photos of you and me and our family and childhood… is love.
Grandma loves life, and she loves us. She wants to savour each moment, and her way of doing that, is to take a photo.
*I mean who can blame her, as previously stated, you are beautiful, and you are changing every day. IT SIMPLY MUST BE DOCUMENTED.
So as you get older, and you think to yourself “SERIOUSLY ANOTHER PHOTO WOMAN?!” please remember you are making her day ( and probably mine too) because all she is saying as she clicks away on her camera is I love you.
*Then take a deep breath, count down from ten in your head and remember the first few points on this list about how you have great eyebrows AND a beautiful soul.
“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life”