Facebook can be a beautiful thing on your birthday. This year, like many years before, I was flooded with such fun birthday wishes. And as I’m sure anyone else who has Facebook has figured out, its algorithm is a funny thing. It shows you all the things it thinks you want to see. Naturally, I share a birthday with a few friends and we all have mutual friends, etc., so in the middle of my Facebook feed was this glaring comparison I wasn’t really ready for. A mutual friend wrote:
“Happy birthday sweet girl” to me and “Happy birthday gorgeous” to my friend.
Remember when birthdays used to be full of life and celebration and just plain fun? I sometimes miss feeling how my kids feel on their birthdays. My kids had already gone to school and told everyone I was ten years older then I actually was (thank you five year olds) and well, I’m not proud of this, but I kind of threw myself a little pity party. Always the sweet one, ugh.
But a few hours later something smacked me in the face: when it’s all said and done, how do you really want to be remembered?
Sweet or gorgeous? That stayed with me for a minute before I could answer. The answer to that question? Sweet, kind, and loving. And what do I want to raise my daughter to be? What do I want people to say about her more than anything else? That she’s sweet, kind, and loving.
I remembered the reasons why I try to make such an effort to tell my daughter that she is kind and sweet and smart BEFORE I tell her that she is beautiful (which is hard sometimes because you guys, she is stunning). Or how I try really hard to not say negative things about myself in front of her because I don’t want her to hate things about herself and the way she looks as much as I do.
How do I raise a daughter to ignore the importance our world puts on a woman’s looks when I can’t even ignore it myself?
This hit me hard. My daughter already lives in the land of princesses and big fancy dresses and everything that glitters. She begs me to curl her hair and if I’m wearing lipstick, she wants to kiss me endlessly so she gets lipstick on her lips too. But I’m ok with all of that because right now, she just wants to feel beautiful for herself and no one else; something I could definitely learn from her. The thing I’ve noticed about all of these princesses she admires: they are kind and sweet.
I believe sweet girls champion other girls and make them feel good about themselves too. And sweet girls listen and are there for their friends on the good days and the bad ones. Sweet girls offer surprises or a gift just because. Sweet girls value people. Sweet girls do their best to make the world a better place and they love with everything they have.