“You still look pretty!” I teased to my daughters and their cousins as I tapped my iPhone. It was a rare moment when our children were perched together on the couch. My sister-in-law has a true gift for capturing the perfect family movement. I am lazy when it comes to taking pictures. I am trying to get better at my sloth-like camera skills. This time I followed my sister-in-law’s dedication to capturing priceless family moments. Well, I sort of did, in my clumsy, awkward Mommy/ Aunt Shelly way.
My sister-in-law had the children smiling in a perfect Facebook picture pose (The picture is now my cover photo!) while I decided to have the children make funny faces. I took the silly photo before chirping, “You still look pretty!” I felt my insides cringe after I said that. Why does it matter if they still look pretty? I always feel that awkward internal clench after I make a comment about my child’s appearance. For example, I tell my daughters to “Stop Growing!” I then proceeded to yell “Stop being so pretty!” I immediately feel the pull to follow-up with “Stop being so smart, funny, amazing….” I feel an inner sight of relief of “I covered all the bases.” Do I believe that all these things are true about my children? Absolutely! My cautiously pretty fear is I don’t want them to think that pretty is the pinnacle of the perfect complement.
On the other hand, I feel like my pretty fears are pretty silly. In case you have not noticed, the world is at its pinnacle of pretty nasty commentary. People think nothing of machine-gunning the ugliest insults at each other. It’s like the civil war of insults. It does not matter if the insults are fired at family members, friends, strangers, or fellow trolls. It is the ugliest behavior.
Still, I cannot control what goes on outside my home. I cannot give the world a time out for its ugly behavior. I do try to enforce in my home that pretty does not conquer all, or excuse all. I am trying to teach my children, not that they are the best, but they are more. The actions they make speak louder than a smile on their pretty faces. Isn’t that what we are all fighting for? It starts in the home. We are nationally coming together to show that we are more. We are better than ugly behavior, right? That, my friend, is a pretty, beautiful thing.