by Nichole on May 6, 2011 · 4 comments


Dear K,

I want you to know how beautiful you are.

You are so beautiful. You have these big blue eyes, and the fairest, most beautiful skin. Your cheeks are tinged pink when you laugh, and you have 2 adorable dimples on the left side of your face: one in the middle of your cheek and one on the crease of your smile. You have shiny blonde hair that, albeit super tangly, glows in the sun. Your smile can light up a room. Girl, you are gorgeous.

But…. all of this,… this is just the cherry on top. It’s not what defines you, it’s not who you are, it’s not what makes you special either. You are the sweetest girl. I sometimes can’t even believe you are mine. You are incredibly kind to your little sisters, the most thoughtful 5 year old I know. If I offer you the last cookie when your sisters aren’t around you are always hesitant to say yes, and agree only if you can split it with H later. When you went on an Easter egg hunt a few days ago, you would run and put some eggs in H’s basket to be sure she was getting enough. You come home concerned if one of your friends is talking behind another one of your friend’s back. It genuinely upsets you when people are mean to other people. You are concerned with others not feeling left out. You notice when my glass is empty and run to the kitchen to fill it back up with water without my even asking. And you’ve always been like this, even when you were littler: I remember crying one time when you were about 2.5 years old and you climbed on my lap and wiped away my tears. Girl, you are something else.

photo by Myriah Grubbs

I’m so sad that you’ve been pointing out your flaws lately… I’m so sad that the last couple days you keep looking at your tummy thinking it’s too big and asking me why. I’m sad to watch you look down and try sucking it in. I hate that you are concerned with something like this…

When I found out I was having a girl, back when I was pregnant with K, I swore to myself I would stop picking myself apart. It was the last thing I wanted to teach my little girl and I broke the habit almost cold turkey. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally tell Daniel I feel ‘yucky’, but I try my hardest not to use words that insult who I am – especially in front of my girls. K didn’t even know what the word ‘fat’ meant until she was 4 years old, and she is one smart cookie, she was even reading by that time. Yes,… I have worked hard.

I want my girls to know there is so much more to life than having the perfect body. Seriously who, other than me, notices whether my belly is completely flat? *Don’t answer that – hehe, I kid* Seriously? So what, I lean forward and I have a roll that goes over my jeans. So? Who doesn’t? And IF others notice, and IF I lack that silly little roll (which I don’t) then I’d assume they’d be envying my ever so gorgeous body. And really… is that what I need? Meh…, I don’t need others to envy me. I need them to love me. And people who love me…. well I can tell you this: they will NOT care about the size of my belly. Nope. They won’t care that you can squeeze the bottom of my upper arms and feel like you are playing with some stressball or silly putty.  People who love me just love me. Just because.

Am I saying it’s not important to be healthy? Absolutely not. It’s very important to take care of the body that God gave you. This is why I cook 99% of our meals at home, it’s why I try to make sure my girls get their fruits and vegetables, it’s why I try to limit the amount of sweets they have, and it’s why 90% of the time I say no to juice and yes to water.

Needless to say, K’s new concern with the size of her tummy has come as a bit of a shock to me and I’m working to clean up whatever mess this is that has somehow jumped onto my child. This is the very reason I don’t let her watch some shows or listen to some music that I believe to be ‘too old‘ for her. I suppose I can’t really control what goes in and out of the ears of those she is surrounded by…

So here’s the deal. This might be an issue that we have to work through, or… my typing this blog might be the last we ever hear of it. Regardless, I’m sure those of you reading this can imagine how it must look for a 5 year old to be complaining that her belly (which is actually pretty small) is too big. I’m sure you can imagine how weird it is to see her looking down in the middle of her dance class and sucking it in to see if that helps. I’m sure you are all thinking how nuts this is. But I challenge you to look inside yourself. How often are we, as grown ups, insulting who we are? I was thinking this morning: when does this kind of thing become okay? Because it does…. right? There is an age where it is socially acceptable to rip yourself apart. There’s a time when it’s socially acceptable for me to talk about all the ways I wish I looked. But why? Shouldn’t it look just as strange as it does to see my 5 year old doing it? Isn’t it something we should avoid no matter what our age is? After all, grown up or not, we are still that same 5 year old (with a few years packed on).

Work hard to be the best person you can be, but if you go around insulting yourself and picking yourself apart, don’t think for a second that there will come a day that you will be happy with yourself. “If only I was 15lbs lighter….then I’d love myself” Geesh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you have to be 15lbs lighter to love yourself… well then odds are, even 15lbs isn’t going to do you that favor. If you aren’t happy with yourself now, you ain’t gonna to be happy with yourself then. *hehe, I don’t usually use the word ‘ain’t’ but… I thought it’d be fun to try it out…*

Here’s to true beauty. Not the kind we can see on the outside, but the kind that defines us. Here’s to the parts about my daughters that make them them. To K’s sweetness, her love for others, her ability to truly enjoy the people she is around,… to H’s kindness, her desire to make people happy, her spunky, unique, & funny self,…. to E’s cuddly-ness, to her ability to be the sweetest baby even through her little life’s battles (getting sick so frequently)… I love my girls. They are the cutest girls, but that is not why I love them and it’s not what makes them beautiful.

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  • Cherylyn

    I love that you are Kylie’s mom. I love that you will teach her to see herself for who she is. I love that you wrote this blog to push all of us to love all of us. I love you.

  • charis

    this is great. i feel convicted because i know i pick myself apart too often. thank you for the loving rebuke. taken.

    my recent post: how to grow in a life of prayer

  • Barbie Swihart

    Okay, I admit it. I’ve picked myself apart, literally torn myself to shreds, in front of my children. Thank you for this reminder that this is not okay. Still trying to grasp so many things about myself. But it’s between me and God and not for the ears of my kids. Thank you for reminding me that outward beauty does not define me.

  • Anonymous

    hmmmm, haven’t commented yet on this loving rebuke because ….


    we are our own worst critics …. yet, to think that my own daughters and grand-daughters would think less than that they are perfectly perfect, well, that is soooooo very different!!!!

    I have preached this ‘being happy with who God made us’, but too often have to re-learn it myself.

    You did a great job reminding us all.

    xoxo I love you my perfectly perfect daughter:) …. and your daughters are so perfectly perfect too!!!

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