It’s about to get real.
This week I may or may not have opened my phone to find approximately thirty pictures of myself hanging out at the kitchen sink, resting my belly on the counter while washing dishes. Which, hypothetically, might look something like this:
Of course, this is just a highly-paid stunt double, posing for what such a photo *might* look like. You can’t prove this is me. That could be anyone’s belly.
Seriously though, it is me. Not pregnant. Just… lettin’ it all hang out. Taking a load off, if you will.
My mother was right. I have got to work on my posture. Or, better yet, I have got to hide my phone from my five-year-old, who is a little obsessed with photography. She seizes any opportunity to snap pictures of anything and everything. She’s a sneaky one, and oftentimes she’s so quiet I have no idea she’s turning an ordinary moment into a full-on photography session. I’ve deleted countless photos of chairs, rocks, flowers, toys, bugs. You name it, I’ve deleted it.
This belly-resting-on-the-counter photo is one in an infinite series of unflattering photos of myself, and it doesn’t even make the list of top ten worst photos. Not even close. For some reason, I seem to be her favorite photography subject. I’ll be honest, going through my phone and deleting her photos can be a real confidence killer sometimes. Her height and sneakiness make for some dangerously bad camera angles.
Yet every once in a while—every once in one thousand photos—I’ll come across something like this, which she took when I was buckling her into her car seat:
It’s because she thinks I’m beautiful.
It’s because she doesn’t see a stretchy belly resting on the kitchen sink. She sees the pure comfort of being in the presence of her mama on a nothing-special kind of day. It’s because she doesn’t see the increasingly deep crow’s feet around my eyes. She sees the smiles which created them, and she’s especially fond of the smiles reserved for her. It’s because when she sees me get the box of hair dye which I now need to cover my grays, she watches me with great interest and talks about one day getting to be “fancy” just like mommy and cover her gray hairs, too.
Kids think their moms are beautiful. They just do. I can remember thinking this about my own mom. Even in the early nineties, when she experimented with her hair and ended up with an orange perm (it was supposed to be blonde)… beautiful. I can remember sitting on her bed and watching her get dressed, seeing her fluff those orange curls and give herself a final check in the mirror before spraying on her perfume. I’m sure she might not have felt particularly beautiful some days, but I thought she was especially beautiful then. Even when she was in the last week of her battle with cancer and she sang the Doc McStuffins song with her grandchildren from her hospital bed, just so they’d feel a little better about being in such a scary place. Beautiful.
Why is it that we can so easily see beauty when we look at our own mothers, and yet be so very hard on ourselves?
In a world where we have instant access to everyone’s best moments, it is all too tempting to wonder if we’re measuring up. If we’re beautiful enough, patient enough, loving enough, fun enough, doing enough, there enough.
Enough already! Enough with wondering if you’re enough.
This Mother’s Day, I won’t get to see my own mother’s particular brand of beautiful, but—oh—I get to be that kind of beautiful to someone. Let me not waste or diminish it by lamenting over the belly-on-the-counter moments. Let me instead celebrate that even a moment like this is beautiful, and let me lean in close to the moms who are in the trenches with little ones this year and remind them that real-life happens without a filter.
I want to remind you, my fellow mama, that your #nofilter moments are so much more beautiful than you realize. That there is no one who could ever take your place in your child’s eyes. That there’s no one on the planet who could compare to you. That you’re beautiful. And that the moments which feel the least beautiful are probably the most beautiful moments of all.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to remind you that the Creator of the Universe sees you like that, too.
Happy #NoFilter Mother’s Day!
You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Song of Songs 4:7 NLT