Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just Tell Me I'm Pretty

We put in a rough day today. We're still fighting these colds, or allergies. It's like a little cough, little sniffles, no fever, but it just won't go away.

E was handling it well for the first week, but today, she seemed as annoyed as we were as the hacking and nose wiping continued.

I had lazily come in yesterday afternoon and tossed my purse on the couch. E was now unzipping the makeup pocket and rummaging through it. I looked on, disinterested, until I noticed her putting on my lip gloss.

"Hey, wait!" I said, as she glided the gloss across her top lip and through a gooey glob of snot that was running out of her nose. I let out a defeated, "Eh, who cares" sigh and let her continue.

She climbed up on my lap and proceeded to put some gooey lip gloss on my lips. I didn't even protest. "Sure, make me into the sad clown I feel like today."

Then I put on my Mommy hat and said, "Okay, now it's time to put the lip gloss away." She tightened her grip on the tube of gloss.

"Listen," I said calmly, "We already used the lip gloss. We need to put it away." I pried it from her hands. This triggered a screaming, doll-throwing, couch-punching, lay-on-the-floor-and-scream-like-I'm-dying temper-tantrum.

"You're fine," I said.

She got up and ran straight into Mark's arms. He scooped her up and cradled her like a baby. She sobbed on his shoulder. He smiled at me like, "Can you believe this?" and we shared a silent "Holy cow..." moment. E turned and pouted at me, crocodile tears brimming her eyes, slipping down her cheek.

"I want that lipstick, Daddy!!" she wailed, in her best "Can you believe my mother?" tone.

Mark backed me up, "You already put some on. And you know what? You look very pretty."

She stopped crying, looked up at him, gave him a little smile, squirmed out of his arms, and ran off to play.

I stared up at Mark, slightly shocked. I know that she just wants us to listen to her, to justify her feelings, even if we think they're irrational. I get that. I want that when I'm upset too.

But Mark also told her that she was pretty, which on some level made her feel better -- even if it was just a reminder that she still had lip gloss on.

Our daughter is, of course, always beautiful, but this was not one of her "prettier" moments -- meaning only that she was grumpy and tear-streaked.

Mark caught me staring up at him, teary eyed and in awe of him. "What?" he asked.

"You told her she was pretty."

I thought a long time about why this meant so much to me, and I decided that it was because he saw her as beautiful, when she had hit toddler rock-bottom -- the same way he saw me during the worst days of my pregnancy, after birthing a baby.

I was so in love with him in that moment today, connecting these brief glimpses of him as a husband and father, realizing that he always sees his girls this way -- never as broken, just as abstract, colorful pieces, that maybe don't quite fit together yet, that maybe are never meant to, that maybe are pretty just the way they are.


Kim Gifford said...

I'm crying and I love this and I love you too and I don't know if you have any idea what an incredible writer you are!

Alissa said...

This is so sweet! You got a keeper. :)

AdminG said...

Thanks! I think so too!! :-)

Stewart said...

What the other two said.....