One of the obsessive worries I and many women have is to be attractive. For me, that usually means not “looking nice enough” but perfection. Which, as you can guess, is impossible. Even so, it’s something I worry about. So, of course, pregnancy is rather a terror. It makes you fat, slow, and have weird medical-hormonal-body…issues.
While pregnant and post-pregnant, I continually monitor body fat levels and appearance in the mirror and fuss about if my skin will ever shrink back (so far, so good) and my minor stretchmarks fade. And always I sigh at the little scars on my cheeks and wish my skin would stay clear and my hair at least not heinous.
In ten years I will probably start to see actual wrinkles, and by the time I’m a grandmother have lost all pretense at having something nice on me to look at.
What does this have to do with Esther?
When I look at her, I think she is beautiful. Even if she has a temporary birthmark smack in the middle of her face. As I fade, she will blossom and, far from making me feel jealous, I actually feel proud and happy.
When I first read Shakespeare’s progeny sonnets, or the early ones where he’s always urging his love to preserve her beauty by instilling it in a child, I thought they were weird, and not really the thing to say to win a woman’s affection. “I love you so much–too bad you’ll be wrinkled and worn soon.” But now they make sense to me. (Perhaps he was wooing a mother.)
It delights me to look at how pretty she is, even if it’s not a perfect beauty. And it quiets my self-obsession. I feel like I can relax more about getting old because I can just admire her instead of trying to make myself admirable.
Not too much pressure or anything, Esther. Perhaps momma will keep these thoughts hidden from you.