My mommy friends assured me that I would be so elated to meet my little guy that I would not even notice or care what he looked like. But I still believed I would be the one mom in history unaffected by the temporary blindness phenomenon that seemed to accompany labor and delivery. After all, I thought, babies are born with cone heads and puffy faces - not exactly angelic.
Sure enough, I had my son and I was taken aback by how adorable he was. I remember when I first laid eyes on him, he took my breath away. He was SO handsome! Phew!
Today, we look back at the first picture taken by the nurse at the hospital and laugh because we were indeed victims of the phenomenon. His eyes, nose and lips were puffy, his head was shaped weird, and his skin color was uneven. But we thought he was cute then and he is a stunner now.
Two years later, when my daughter was born, I was so confident from our first experience that I knew she would be a doll. I sometimes tried to imagine what she would look like, but I never once worried about it. Then she was born...My labor was so fast and crazy (I started contractions at home at 3am and had her at 7am at the hospital), that I must have been hormonal. I remember thinking to myself when I first saw her "hmmm, some people are going to be really disappointed."
Of course it took me all of 2 hours to get over that. Today, I'm a just few thousand dollars short of putting a neon sign in my front yard that says "World's cutest baby inside" with an arrow pointing toward her room. For the first six months of her life, I looked at her and cried every single day overwhelmed by her beauty.
I've been blessed with two precious children whom I love to play dress up with and photograph like it's my job. But, my top job is to teach them true beauty. The kind that is more than skin deep. I aim each day to build in them the confidence they need to be beautiful in words and actions. I take every opportunity to nurture their self-esteem with loving words and acts of kindness so that they will pay it forward.
In the next few weeks, I am going to write about ways in which we, as adults (teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends), can build up the children in our lives. You see, only through a healthy self-concept are children able to show kindness towards others.
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