My girl is so beautiful that I swell with pride when I look at her. I suppose it is entirely possible that she is quite ordinary-looking, but I only see beauty. Perhaps it is because of what I see.
When I see her legs, long and colt-like, I picture her running onto a netball court on wintry Saturdays. She is always bubbling with enthusiasm – not because of a particular love of the game, but because she is surrounded by friends. She is part of a team. With this group of girls she has experienced highs and lows. This team, that suffered humiliating defeat after defeat followed by a season that surely could only belong in a clichéd feel-good sports movie, could teach many adults about sportsmanship and friendship.
When I see her hands, long fingers and large knuckles like her father, I hear a flute playing. First the piercing squeaks of the early learner, followed by the monotony of major and minor scales and finally the soaring notes as the pieces become more polished. I marvel that her hands, with their dirty, gnawed nails and ink-marked fingers, can produce such beautiful music.
When I see her hair, no longer the blonde of her infancy, I see the tangles and knots that I have smoothed over the years. Knots gained from tree branches and bike helmets. Tangles from expeditions to the creek, from hanging upside down while watching TV. Every morning I tease them out (not always carefully) and arrange her mane into a tidy ponytail or plait. Every afternoon she comes home, looking like she has been “dragged through a hedge backwards”. Always beaming with the adventures of her day.
When I see her eyes, long-lashed and shining blue, I see her brow furrow as she sees some unfairness in the world. From an unkind word from a classmate, to stories of animal cruelty, to the larger social injustices she sees on the news. She doesn’t understand hate, and cannot bear intolerance. She is still learning about speaking up for others, about standing up for her beliefs, but she is trying. I know she will when it counts.
When I see her smile, I hear her laughing. From the hearty belly laughs of her baby-self to the secretive giggles of a pre-teen with her friends. The squeals of delight as she wrestles with her beloved ginger cat and the wry chuckles as she sits beside us and watches Fawlty Towers or Seinfeld, finally old enough to share the jokes.
My girl is beautiful.
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