Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Day I Saw Myself Through My Son's Eyes.

I wasn't wearing anything fancy. In fact, if I'm being honest I hadn't even showered that morning or the morning before that. I was standing in the kitchen wearing a pair of ripped up jeans and a flow-y top, one that I now appreciate more than ever as it hides that last little bit of kangaroo pouch that I can't seem to make disappear after two babies. 

I don't mind, really, that extra squishiness. Each time that the boys press their fingers into my soft middle, I smile. I didn't always smile though. In the beginning, I would wince, tug my shirt down and quickly try to turn their attention to something else. What is with their affections for my middle place? Like moths to a flame, they gravitate there.

As I smile, I try to remind myself that the once taught skin that graced my midsection stretched and grew and stretched and grew to accommodate not one but two beautiful boys. That as my rib cage grew, my hips followed suit and grew as they grew, providing a safe and warm place that was their beginning. I try to explain to them that's where they were knit together, cell by cell and piece by piece until they were baked just right to come into this world.

I try to remind myself of the Amazing over the Squishy and it works, most of the time. 

But back to the point of this post. 

I wasn't wearing anything fancy when one afternoon my three year old wandered over, grasped the hem of my top in his fingers, studied it, and twirling it between his little thumb and forefinger, looked up at me, my hair all helter-skelter, not a single stitch of make up applied, standing there in the slightly messy kitchen and ever-so-matter-of-factly called me a princess. 

He exact words were, "Mommy, you're a bee-YOO-tiful princess." 

Just like that. And you know what? He meant it.

My first thought was, "Ha! What a silly boy! I look awful! I'm tired and I haven't showered in two days and I'm almost certain I slept in this top," but after I carelessly patted his head of thick, beautiful blonde curls and muttered a half-serious "thank you," it struck me. 

I want to always see myself as my boys see me. 

Because despite all of my imperfections, the things that I like least about myself, the perpetual bags under my eyes, the lack of makeup, the wrinkles that hug my eyes, the softness of my middle, the things I try so often to hide about myself, they see none of that. 

In their eyes I am perfect. 

I am a beautiful princess. I am the best pancake maker. The fastest Hot Wheels racer. I am the funniest teller of Knock Knock Jokes and the best Reader of Stories at bedtime. I am the prettiest Mommy and the Greatest Mommy they've ever had. Of course I'm the only Mommy they've ever had but regardless, I'm the best one.

They don't see the bags under my eyes or the exhaustion that hangs heavy on my shoulders some mornings. They don't know my pants size or how many pounds I've lost or gained or how I sometimes wonder if my husband ever misses the body of that college co-ed he fell in love with over ten years ago.

My boys love me more than anything in their whole little world despite those times I lost my patience and raised my voice. Despite the times I was The Enforcer of Time Outs and Force-Feeder of Broccoli. 

I am a beautiful princess standing right there in the kitchen, a midst a sink full of dishes and two rooms above a dryer full of laundry that's on it's fourth dry cycle.

How awesome is that?

I know as they grow older there will be outside influences that will try and alter their way of thinking. Influences that will tell them I am not perfect. That beauty is synonymous with perfection. They will learn words like skinny and fat and slow and dumb. Words that sting and bite and hurt. I can only protect and shelter them so much before it is my responsibility to let them stretch their wings and move away from the protection of the one that grew their tiny bodies. That served as the place where they were knit together, cell by cell and piece by piece. 

Before becoming a Mom, I thought that I would only have to worry about those words with a daughter. That I would need to be conscious of my own thoughts and words in order to raise her up a confident woman who appreciated real beauty. Beauty in imperfections. Beauty in brains and compassion and selflessness.  

But it's not true. Just because I don't have daughters doesn't mean I'm off the hook. 

I'm raising two little men who will one day, by the grace of God, become husbands. Not only is it my responsibility to clothe them and feed them and raise them up to be kind, respectful and successful but it is also my responsibility to raise them up to be patient, kind, compassionate men who appreciate real beauty. Who can look beyond imperfections and shortcomings and failures, giving both themselves and their partners grace for their mistakes. 

Who can stand in the middle of a messy kitchen and look at their partner in life, standing before them exhausted, a little soft, a little weary, maybe wearing last night's sleep shirt, and tell them, with one hundred percent honesty, that they're the most beautiful princess they've ever seen. 


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38 comments :

  1. Aw I absolutely love this and you write beautifully AP!!

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  2. Love this! I smiled through the whole post! As a boy mama, I agree wholeheartedly with you that we have a responsibility to make great future husbands for some little girls lol :)
    Melissa - www.theeyesofaboy.com

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  3. Great post!! I know people get up in arms sometimes whenever we tell little girls "you look so pretty" or "what a little princess" -- but don't we all, as adults, love to be told we look pretty? and that we are fit to be a princess? (okay, maybe a queen!) The language we use with our children - both boys and girls - is so important. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Oh this just melted my heart. What a sweet and true post.

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  5. I LOVE THIS! Little boys have a way of melting mommy's heart :)

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  6. Beautifully written! I was fighting tears but I can blame that on pregnancy hormones, right? I have a little boy, only 19 months, but you are right. It is my responsibility to show him what real beauty is and mold him into the man, husband, and father that he may be someday. Thanks for reminding me!
    Elizabeth Real Inspired

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  7. I'll never forget the first time Jackson walked up to me and so sweetly said mama you so pretty. Melted my heart! Now to keep them this sweet forever is the challenge :)

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  8. I am halfway through this post and in tears...okay back to reading...

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  9. this is such a sweet, beautiful post. :)

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  10. Beautiful. I am the mom to a three year old boy who calls me a beautiful princess too. I have to catch myself from rolling my eyes and remember that he truly believes it. Thanks for the reminder.

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  11. This is your best post yet, AP! It's a lovely read and a great reminder to all of the rest of us boy moms that we're not off the hook! Also, a great tie in for #OperationBeInThePicture!

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  12. Get it sister. This was amazing! And SO TRUE! I was just talking with Diane yesterday about NEVER muttering the word 'skinny' or 'fat' in front of Easton. I don't want him to see a difference in folks because of size. I want him to see everyone for who they are. Make his own judgements, if you will, as to what type of person they are, not based on size, shape, color, etc. You are doing a FINE job with the boys Ashley! A fine job! They are so blessed to have you and I'm CERTAIN their future wives will appreciate the hard work you've invested in their little souls.

    LOVE YOU! xoxoxo

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  13. So sweet. What great boys you have!

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  14. Such a sweet post, friend! One day Mac & Carter are going to make two girls very lucky because of this. I pray Abby is fortunate enough to marry a guy (far, far into the future) whose mommy taught him this very same thing! ;)

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  15. one time my niece told me my stomach looked like a ruffle potato chip...hahaha! Oh well!

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  16. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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  17. Inspired by YOU. I needed this, thank you.

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  18. This is my favorite posts you've ever written. And one of my favorite posts ever written. It is so true. With my 11-year-old girl, she tells me I am gorgeous and beautiful no matter whether my hair is a mess or just fixed. She tells me I'm the best mommy ever. To me these words do mean a little more, but just as they are said to a woman who gave birth to her child - they are precious and perfect. Thanks for these sweet reminders!!!

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  19. Love love love this. Really, this was such a good reminder that they really don't care what we're wearing, if their lunch looked like something of Pinterest, or if we did constructive, educational activities all day- they just want us there!

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  20. You sure do know how to tug at my heart strings and leave me teary eyed. you ARE beautiful.

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  21. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. <333 Boy Moms LOVE <333 Beautiful.

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  22. LOVE this. <333 BOY MOMS <333. Beautiful

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  23. Tears from reading this post. I try to remind myself my kids don't care about sooo many things I obsess over. It's just pure love.

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  24. LOVE THIS. You're a really good mama, friend!!!

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  25. Great post! Tommy always seems to tell me I am beautiful when I feel it the least, and apparently need it the most! We are lucky to have such sweet boys!

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  26. I really love this post...and it is so true!

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  27. Beautiful post. Just what I needed to read today!

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  28. This is probably my favorite post of yours. So beautiful and true. These bodies of ours may not look the way they once did, but they are incredible and beautiful in their own way. They not only created these beautiful little beings but also sustained them for a year or two. It's amazing! I read an article once where the author was explaining that she grew up hearing her mother say negative things about her body and it affected the way the author viewed her own body. She thought her mother was beautiful and perfect and all that negative talk made her think she was wrong. If something was wrong with the mother that was beautiful and perfect in her eyes, then there must definitely be something wrong with her too. It totally changed the way I talk about myself in front of the kids. I will only say positive things and tell them how beautiful I feel. (And you're beautiful, by the way, in anyone's eyes.)

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  29. Eeek! So incredible. Made me cry sweet, happy tears. So blessed to be a boy mom!

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  30. Aww this is sweet. I can't wait for the day when Andrew tells me something similar. You are right, though, it is up to us to raise the gentlemen of the future!

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  31. how do you always tug at my heart strings? love this post.

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  32. Oh man, this post! I don't comment often, though I read almost daily. But this post was SO on point and so so beautiful. It reminded me of an article I recently read and I thought you'd enjoy. (Although you seem to be WAY more self aware than this mother!)
    I'm not a mother yet, but I hope when I'm blessed with children, I'm reminded of this.

    http://www.beautyredefined.net/to-the-mom-who-taught-me-everything-a-body-image-breakthrough/

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  33. Love this so much girl!! Such a beautiful post! :)

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  34. Love this so much girl!! Such a beautiful post!

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