My daughter is beautiful; she is a radiant being who emanates her inner joy and wears her heart on her sleeve. She is beyond compare. My breath regularly catches in my throat when I catch sight of her at random moments and am stunned by her, the way she holds herself, her expressions, the girl she is becoming.
I am well aware that all parents view their offspring in the same manner, to parents their children are the most beautiful beings to ever have graced the earth. This belief is the right of all parents to feel and children to enjoy.
I am also not so deluded to think that all adults view the children of others as their own parents do. We can differentiate between the catalogue-ready model children, the cheekily cute kids and the “I’m sure he will grow into his nose” kids.
In general I try to avoid placing an over-emphasis on looks when I am with my children. I am conscious to not berate my own appearance, keen to encourage tidiness and putting a best foot forward but not that looks are the only important factor in their presentation. My little girl loves all things sparkly, pink and glittery; she admires outfits on her comrades and loves to play hairdressers. The world of faces is not lost on her. I tend to not post photos of my children on social media sites in general, I don’t want them to feel their value is ever measured in likes and comments.
Then one day, my resolve was weakened and allowed myself to buy into the “I want everyone else to see how cute she is and agree with me” mentality. I saw an ad on Facebook from an extras agency looking for children of a certain age with visibly missing teeth. My attention was piqued, my daughter was the requisite age and had been visited by the tooth fairy quite a lot in the near past. She was perfect!
At this point I will mention that a photo of my children and I was in a national newspaper as part of a feature I was mentioned in and she was in her element, the paper cut out was taken into school and toted around for ages as she enjoyed her moment of supposed celebrity. So I told her about the search for a gummy 5 – 7 year old for a TV ad campaign and asked if she wanted me to send her photo. Of course she did! So we took the necessary full length and head shots on my phone and I whizzed them off in an e-mail to the agency.
The days passed and my daughter asked when she was going to be on TV. I had failed her. In my enthusiasm to have everyone else see her as I do, I got caught in the moment and brought her along for the ride. She didn’t even warrant a response it seems, the photos of her beautiful self clearly not rated as what they were looking for. They just couldn’t see what I could. It hurt. But it hurt because I lost myself and allowed myself to buy into it for a moment, I had to have a conversation with her where I told her that maybe they decided to use a boy instead, or a girl who didn’t have glasses and so on. She readily accepted this (and who is to say it’s not the truth?) and went on her merry way. And I gave myself a mental dressing down and promised to never, ever do that to her (or my son) again.
They are my children and the most beautiful creatures on this planet. And I’m not the only one who thinks so, my husband and our families think so too. And isn’t that enough? All kids deserve to bask in that admiration, as families don’t see beauty as only the arrangement of facial features but they see the person as a whole.