Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do you think you're pretty?

When I ask Clover that question, she smiles and enthusiastically replies, "yes!"

Don't you love the confidence of very young girls? Witnessing their unabashed freedom, the way way they dress up and dance and twirl and spin melts my heart. They inquire, "Daddy, do you think I'm pretty?" truly knowing, way down in the depth of their souls, they are. In the kingdom of their own minds, they are the rightful princesses.

Remember Charlize Theron's character in Snow White and the Huntsman clinging to her youth vigorously, employing any means possible, whatever the cost? As cruel and wicked as her techniques to maintain a beautiful, youthful appearance were, I felt a great deal of compassion for her. I could understand her desire to not advance in age.

Tragically, in our society, a woman's value is often directly associated with her physical attributes. Let's face it, our American culture places disproportionate worth on what is skin deep, esteeming eye candy a precious commodity. As a female ages her desirability diminishes from a cultural point of view. Rather than elevating wisdom and honor, years and decades of sacrifice, service and gained knowledge, we dismiss, disregard, set aside. Replace. Out with the old and in with the new.

Case in point: How often in regular, mainstream Hollywood movies do we see a man paired with a woman his own age? (Rarely!) Most of the time, a gentleman's portrayed love interest is 8 or 10 or 15 or even 20 years his junior. Let me tell you, it is something I've been carefully noting. In fact, I would go so far as to say it seems to be the norm as opposed to coupling men and women who are actually peers in age - a far more uncommon union.

Not long ago,  I saw a close up photo of one very rare couple (who is now, sadly, divorced) smiling brightly for the camera. The woman, who was 9 years older than her husband, showed remarkably taut, smooth skin, while her former husband sported a rather natural looking face, crow's feet and all. Later in an interview, that woman admitted to using "any means available" to help herself achieve a youthful appearance.

In the last week alone, I've read accounts of 3 separate - popular in the media - gorgeous, highly blessed, women who all say they are fighting against the hands of regularly receiving botox injections.

How I wish things were different! This makes my heart so very grieved.

We fight and claw and scratch to hold onto what is not ours to keep - our youth.

There comes a point, between the innocence of our early childhood and our last day, where most of us succumb to the pressure to stop finding ourselves lovely.

This is such a crying shame.

My sweet daughters, as the lines etched in my face grow deeper, as my skin changes and my age begins to become more visible, I vow to you that I will give my best to advance with grace. I will work to provide a good example of accepting the years that pass by as a most charitable gift to me - time I am able to spend with you - my loved ones. It will not be easy for me, and as you grow older, it will not be easy for you. Society will bombard us with temptation to do otherwise, to regard our changing faces and bodies as somehow unsatisfactory, to let vanity reign supreme. May I maintain the courage to say it isn't so, to claim my God granted inherent beauty, exactly as it is, transformations and all,  my whole life long.

May you see your own beauty as forever yours to hold, and far more than skin deep.

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