Beautiful . . .

Dear Child-o-Mine -

I wanted to take a quick minute to explain something that may seem basic, and I hope (in a weird way) doesn't seem to be relevant to you. I wanted to talk to you about the word "beautiful." For you see, sweet girl, the word beautiful is a trap - a trap.

No one should "chase" beauty. No one should feel better because someone casually remarks they have it. It should not be something that brings you peace or value. There should not be any part of you that wants to give any part of yourself or your energy to someone because they can whip off a three-syllable compliment while maintaining eye contact.

Conversely the word ugly, when tossed around like so much spring breeze, should never harm you as a stick or a stone might. It should not stick on you, give you pause, or make you feel "less" than you are. Now - if someone who truly knows you tells you that you are ugly . . . we should have a talk immediately. There is a larger problem there. One you need to address.

Your mother and I don't agree on everything but we agreed on one thing when you were still in the womb. We were going to raise you to be a wonderful person. We dreamed of you being loving, having gifts to share, being happy, making a way and life of your own, being strong, confident, a leader (in the right sense of the word) and being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. We never dreamed of your hair color or texture, the pale of your skin, the glow of your eyes, or the roundness of your body. Those things did not matter to us then. They don't matter to us now. They won't matter to us in the future. What does matter is what is inside you. Your character. Your essence. THAT is the part of you that will ensure happiness. THAT is what matters. THAT is who you are. You can be disfigured tomorrow. You could have plastic surgery to recreate your body. Those things would not matter. They are not what will make (or prevent) beauty.

Let me be clear about something - you should HAPPILY accept (demure a little, we raised you better than to be glib) the compliment of being told you are "beautiful" (no reason to be one of those hostile people (another time, another post)) when someone who truly knows you tells you this. You should cherish it. Hold it. Allow it to flush your cheeks, warm your heart, and make you mentally swoon.

For in that word is hopefully, really the validation that you are a combination/all of the things you really want to be like kind, gracious, loving, giving, strong, intelligent, honest, sophisticated, gentle, approachable, well read/versed, appropriately vulgar, generous with your time and smile, accomplished, and with great hair (not that last one). See, kiddo. Beautiful is a trap because it captures so many other things in it. Dig deeper. Be deeper (than your skin).

I love you and your mother loves you. We want you to know that we think you're truly beautiful. In a way that makes us very, very proud.

- Sean-Daddy (Yes. My daughter actually calls me Sean-Daddy.)