All morning, whenever I sit still for her, Little is making me a princess. She inserts hair pins at random, and brushes and pulls. Bangles and bracelets pile up on my wrists, necklaces stack up under my chin.”You look so beautiful mommy”, she says. “You have to keep your princess things on all day, even when you go to the store and the bank.”
I’m a princess stirring porridge. The bangles clink as I lift the baby.
It feels odd to realize that she thinks I’m beautiful, and then to understand that she notices only details, not the whole picture. My long hair makes me a princess, even in a stained t-shirt. Blue jeans don’t matter if I have on enough bling. But I see the ratty and tattered parts of myself. I know I am not worthy of this adoration. I’m familiar with my ugliness. She notices only beauty.
Bam Bam is restless today, cranky, pulling on things climbing on and off my lap, impossible to satisfy. He snatches at the necklaces, screams as I pry them from his grasping little hands. One by one, I take them off and put them away. The bracelets tinkle and make hard surfaces that press in between in get in the way when I try to nurse. They make me hard and pointy instead of soft and comforting like I should be.
“I can’t be a princess anymore,” I explain to Little. “I need to take these off so I can do things today. I have work to do and they are getting in the way.”
“Ok mama,” she agrees, “But you can still keep your princess hair in.”
I keep the dozens of pins in my hair all day until bedtime.
This princess business doesn’t go very well with this job of being a mommy. No high heels and fancy dresses for me. Hanging laundry is too much work dressed like that. This sort of externally applied beauty gets in the way of my real life, my true identity, the work I have to do.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth
But I must grow some beauty in me somewhere under this weary skin that is so often too thin and easily irritated. I need beauty that doesn’t come with sharp edges and pointy jagged hardness in me. For one day she will start to notice more than bling and when she looks for true beauty I need for her to be able to find it in me. I need to learn it so that she will be able to learn it from me. I need to become an arrow that points for her to the the ultimate source of beauty and good, only I’m helpless to do it on my own.
I need to connect with the source of all beauty more myself, in order to truly possess it. I must be a princess who lives life on her knees, or not a princess at all.