Only a few short years ago, I had a beautiful baby placed in my arms with dark hair, searching eyes and a sweet disposition. She was so innocent, an angel straight from heaven. As I gazed down into her little face and held her tiny hand that barely curled around one of my fingers, I thought of her path. I thought of all the things she might be. I wanted to know her. I wanted to understand who she was and what she was thinking at that very moment. I pondered the years that lay before us, the years of being and growing together. I envisioned her twirling in tutu’s and running in the grass, playing dress ups with her friends and learning to read. There was so much to experience together. I could hardly wait.
I don’t remember much of the next several months. My life turned upside down as I learned the mundane tasks that would be mine. I boiled bottles before I used them, changed her diaper every 30 minutes, packed extra onsies for a possible spill, and became accustomed to lack of sleep. I vagely remember my baby learning to walk and say her first sentence, although I remember the feeling of bliss when she had accomplished new milestones.
Looking at my six beautiful daughters, is almost surreal to me. Are they really all mine and when did all these babies get here? What kind of fog have I been in to have been through so much with them and only recall flashes of times spent kissing a scraped knee or reading a story quietly on the hammack? I know I was there. The endless hugs, stories told, diapers changed, food served and swings pushed. I know that woman was me, but somehow she is distant.
Memory is a wierd thing. We feel like there is no way we will forget all of the day to day thoughts and experiences, but they are slippery. Sometimes I am grateful for this because I know there are pains in my past that I never want to recal as sharp and vivid as they once were. I almost pride myself in being able to tuck things into a corner of my mind where they don’t bother me. Times when it was easier to go to bed mad then deal with things that felt out of my control. Somehow these stong feelings lay in the past along with all of the great ones. The memories that had me sailing on clouds and feeling like I could conquer the world; they are all distant. Somewhere mingled together, in the past.
Days are slow, but years are fast. Since then I have had four more baby girls placed in my arms, raised one step daughter and one niece. With each child added to my home the time seemed to race ahead with an uncontrolable speed. All of the little things I used to worry about as a brand new mother with a few kids seem very distant to me now. My worries turned from spilled milk or a missed nap to their survival as a beautiful daughter of God being surrounded by messages that tear them down.
It is always easier to visualize the beauty and greatness held in others, than to capture it within onself.
I have spent countless hours trying to find ways to show my girls their beauty. Telling them they are perfect, smart, happy and beautiful seems to work well when they are young and believe everything you say.
It always makes me grin ear to ear when I tell them they are FABULOUS and they say “I KNOW”!
Over time the world begins to send other messages and their answer turns from a solid acceptance of greatness to a wishy washy denial. Messages that are false and very damaging. My sweet, beautiful girls start letting negative voices in without even realizing it. I start hearing comments like their hair isn’t good enough, or their skin is the wrong color. I remember feeling the same way and looking back it saddens me. What chance do they have when every form of media screams that they aren’t good enough? Movies, T.V., music, magazines, the internet, and one and on. Society decides what is beautiful and shoves it into their developing and vulnerable mind. Every magazine rack in the grocery store sells an image. An image that is unattainable because everyone is different inside and out. We are unique and that is where beauty lies: in our differences.
For these reasons I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can show my girls what beauty really is. I want to put together a collection of stories and images of real women. Women from all walks of life with stories to tell as different as they are. I want to show them the beauty that comes with age and experience and to share with them women that can be their heros.
My Mommy with Ella
I am sick of hearing that Brittany Spears or Hannah Montana are my daughters “role models”. I want to take the next several months to collect the stories of 100 females. My project will consist of women and girls I have found via the Internet, blogs, Facebook, friends and family.
I will take these pictures and use them to make a website dedicated to my daughters. My goal is to strengthen their view of themselves and the 100 women who participate and the countless people who will read their stories.
My Grandma Gourley’s “FIRST s’more!”
So my friends, I am begging you to help me out *YESYOU*. Tell every female you know about what I am trying to do for my daughters. Let your sisters, mothers, grandmothers, friends, blog aquaintences, daughters, and everyone else in on the plan! Together we can all make a difference in how women are viewed and how we view ourselves. Help me teach my children that beauty is unique to each individual. Don’t worry about wrinkles, size and shape, color, or hair. Just share who you are and what makes you beautiful. It can be strengths, talents, features, your cute shoes…WHATEVER!
Be real about womanhood, and the things that make you laugh! Within the site will be links back to the women who are awesome enough to submit their information for my project. If you have a blog, I want you to get credit for being you!
If you are willing and as excited as I am to get this project going, leave me a comment and spread the word! Women need to stick together and build each other up, not tear each other down.Please, Please, Please….. PLEASE jump on board! If you are interested,
If you aren’t interested in participating, I would also love a mention on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. to link someone here that may be interested.
My project will be called:
In My Daughter’s Eyes