I came across this post by Alyssa of Kitch Bitsch last week and thought it was just lovely. Following a survey of 40,000 people from 102 non-English speaking countries, "mother" was voted the most beautiful word in the English language*. Isn't that wonderful? Here is a taste of what Alyssa had to say about "mother": The first word we speak. The first person to comfort us. Mother is love. Mother is home.
If mother has intrinsic beauty then why don’t I feel beautiful? I am mother to a son and two daughters. To them I am beautiful; they see what I can’t see. To them I am tickles and cupcakes and morning cuddles, my squishy belly a pillow. My daughters brush my hair and choose a vintage dress for me to wear each morning. They aspire to be like their mother.
It is not hard to see their beauty. They giggle and dance and sing. I stare at their cherubic faces as they lay sleeping. I kiss their velvety skin and breathe them deep into my lungs. They marvel at what their bodies can do, how their legs can run and jump.
They remind me of a time when legs were just legs. Before they were dimpled legs or hairy legs or jiggly legs. Before the lens of judgement. Before the term post baby body was even invented.
:: :: ::
Every night while I feed Harry, he glances up at me and smiles. I rest him on my knees and he smiles some more. He follows me with his eyes as I move about the room, grinning when I am near and crying when I move out of sight. I calm his sobs by softly stroking his cheek with my finger. I kiss his feet to make him laugh. When I snuggle him to my chest he falls beautifully, adorably asleep, arms akimbo and mouth wide open in a totally trusting snore.
Does Harry think I am beautiful? Without a doubt he does.
When I wear a dress Madeleine wants to wear a dress. When she runs barefoot she wants me to do the same. Madeleine won't wear those cute little hair-clips you can buy for little girls, but she will insist on having bobby-pins in her hair, if I am wearing them too. We brush our hair at the same time, brush our teeth at the same time, and when I put on make-up Madeleine wants some too, so I pretend to make her over. If I make myself a cup of tea, Madeleine runs to get her tea-set and pours me a second cup from her little floral teapot.
Does Madeleine think I am beautiful? Absolutely. And she wants to be just like me.
But if this is the case, why am I so hard on myself? Why do I narrow my eyes and frown at the post-baby-squish I see in the mirror when I take a shower? Or the lines I see around my eyes when I lean in close? Looking down at my hands as I type these words, my skin appears tired and old from constant washing and cleaning and scrubbing and pushing-prams-in-the-sun(ing). And to be honest, "tired and old" is how I feel all over. My hair these days is best described as "bleh." Most of my clothes have holes in them, and spit-up all over them, and they were never stylish to begin with.
Why do these things bother me so much? Madeleine and Harry don't simply not-care about these things, they don't even know that they exist! To Madeleine and Harry I am beautiful, and I am beautiful because of one irrefutable word: mother.
I loved that Alyssa reminded me of this. You can read her whole post here. If you love your mother or if you are a mother (or both), it will warm your heart.
* Other popular words were "passion," "smile" and "eternity," as well as "lollipop," "hiccup" and "banana"