Today is my wedding day. I smile back at my reflection in the mirror, in my dreamy white gown, my hair in a waterfall up-do and makeup done to perfection. Today I feel beautiful.
Today I feel heavy. I can’t get up without every limb aching from the weight that I am carrying within me. I look into the mirror. First I see the tired eyes and swollen face. And then I feel the flutters, the tiny kick of the baby inside of me. I smile. Today I am holding a new life inside of me. And today I feel beautiful.
Today I have become a mother. I gaze in wonder at the tiny being that is now my son, and I am speechless. Today, I know what true beauty looks like.
Today I am tired. I am a new mom. I have bags under my eyes, and haven’t slept in days. Can I feel beautiful? My husband is about to come home after a long day of work. I can barely tidy the house, but I pull my hair down and put on a smile. When he arrives, I greet him, baby in arms. He looks at us and says, “Today, you are beautiful.”
Today my toddler takes his first little steps. Hands out for balance, he stretches one foot out, and then the next. Yes, it is not smooth, nor graceful. But I am prouder than the mother of an Olympic athlete. To me, this is true grace and beauty.
Today I am having a rough day. I am at my wits end when my two-year-old spills his drink all over our new couch. I am about to lose my cool, but I look into his innocent eyes. He seems scared. I stop myself from yelling, and instead, lean over, give him a hug. I calmly ask him to help me clean up the mess he has made. He nods, relieved. Today, I have overcome. Today, I feel beautiful.
Today my big boy comes home with ripped jeans. His hands and face are full of mud. Mud everywhere. I am about to yell, to ask him what he was thinking. But then, I see the sparkle in his eyes, the joy of having explored and discovered. And in that, I see beauty. Today, he is beautiful, and so am I.
Today is our third wedding anniversary. So much has changed over the past three years. We get my mom to babysit, so that the husband and I can go on our long awaited date. I will miss our little one, even though I know that he will be fast asleep and in good hands. I put the finishing touches of makeup on, and look at my reflection in the mirror. Today I feel beautiful. But unlike three years ago, this time I realize that it is not the makeup.
There are times in life when beauty is not what you pictured in your childhood fantasies. You begin to realize that beauty can be found in even the most unexpected places. As a little girl, you grow up thinking that beauty is perfection. This is true. But perfection can be found within the seeming imperfections of life, if you just take a moment to breathe and to smile.
Today, we are beautiful.