|Beautiful and Beloved|
The problem with Beauty is that she really doesn't know how truly beautiful she is. I am on a journey with Beauty as she discovers her worth and value as a woman. My beauty is fifteen years old and journeying towards discovering her true beauty - her beautiful, beloved and breathtaking self. She cannot see it yet, but I can. Like a mist that rolls in across the valley there are moments that are hazy, unclear and sometimes just way too foggy. But, when the mist clears and the sun shines through, the way suddenly opens up and well, the view is truly amazing. Teaching a child (and a teenager at that) to appreciate the view however is another matter entirely.
Fifteen seems such an awkward age. No longer a child and not quite a woman (and lets not say young lady ... sighs of "Muuuummm" escape exasperated lips). I still see the little girl within trying to find her way, while the young women emerging longs to break out. It is with both delight and angst that I watch this metamorphosis unfold. I delight in the declarations of uniqueness and individuality being established but there is a certain amount of angst as she forges her own path of identity ... so totally separate from mine. (So hard to let go of my little girl!!!)
Beauty responded recently with the heart cry "I just don't fit in" to which I replied "Good, your not suppose to fit in, your meant to stand out." Beauty was not impressed. I thought this statement was a good come back, (positive and assuring) I was wrong. Fifteen is all about fitting in and definitely NOT standing out!!! The strange thing is that I have been observing this metamorphosis for some time and I have come to an interesting conclusion. When you are fifteen, fitting in is actually all about standing out ... the only thing is you just can't point this out to them. I have observed teenagers doing whatever they can to get noticed. (Facebook says it all!!!!!) So while they search for acceptance, understanding and assurance, they long to be noticed and seen. I realize how imperative it is that I continue to nurture this soul space and allow the opportunity and freedom to express individuality while continuing to establish the boundary of the invisible line. (So tricky sometimes ... especially when the only way of knowing the line has been crossed is when your child crosses it and they have to find their way back.)
Teenagers are hungry for love and acceptance perhaps even more so than ever before. They long to be accepted particularly within the safety of a family and especially by their peers (Truly a scary thought ... especially when they are all trying to find themselves!!!) Self-esteem can be so fragile because while they may appear so very confident on the outside, they still melt in a storm of opposition on the inside. The yo-yo between these extremes can be daunting (on both sides). My mission of late has been to ensure that Beauty is surrounded by a great company of people (Thank goodness for amazing youth leaders, like this girl pictured with my beauty - her heart bedazzles!) and peers with the same heart, purpose and passion for life. She is finding a place where she can fit in (and stand out!)
Teaching Beauty about what is truly beautiful (inner beauty) isn't easy when you both value different things and not an easy task in a multi media saturated world that defines beauty purely by how one looks. Telling your child that what matters in life has more to do with whats going on in the inside of you than the outward is well and good except when they are really struggling with what is going on with the outside of them. Finding the balance between such ideals has been like a tightrope walker tiptoeing along a wire while balancing a pole at the same time. (Yes this is actually possible ... I saw it done!) The pull of the world is indeed strong and the demand to parent fiercely and purposefully requires a certain amount of grit, determination and a whole lot of 'Savvy Mumma'. So grateful for a woman's intuition, but it sure can't compete with divine intervention, holy spirit guidance and lots of action on a bended knee. Thank you GOD!
Beauty has had an ongoing frustration since childhood - her hair. While I see beautiful brown luxurious tresses she sees plain, boring, much too thick hair. I see wild and free hair. She sees untamed, unruly and very kinky locks. Diligently she straightens every kink to a smooth, straight and shiny finish. Unhappy with her plain brown colour she is adamant that it requires colour and vibrancy. Also the very thing she is looking for in life. Discovering the hues and tones of her life of late has been an ardent venture. Consequently she is currently sporting tones of red. The palette of life is having a good workout. Colours are swirling, merging and being defined. A picture is emerging.
While I have been spouting this inner beauty thought to Beauty for many years, I am keenly aware that it needs to be more fully nurtured. I am currently reminding her of the moments when her inner beauty is radiantly displayed. Not an easy task (try telling someone how beautiful they are on the inside ... your soul is so pretty today). So I told Beauty that her heart was looking good the other day and I got a very strange look. I laughed and continued to explain, I love your heart for others, the hug you gave your brother, the thoughtfulness of preparing dinner, saying sorry, kindness shown to a friend and the respect given to a youth leader. Now all of that is truly beautiful!
I love you my darling girl, more than all the stars in the sky!