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Anyone who knows me knows I’m not much into beauty. I rarely do my hair, I wear hardly any makeup, and my outfits are hit or miss.
Yet, without fail, you’ll find me the night of a feast locked in an epic argument with my 8-year-old daughter about what she’s going to wear and how she’ll do her hair.
It’s not that I’m very demanding (in my opinion), but I just want her to know the feast is special. You can wear the same dress every other Sunday, but for the feast? Step up your game.
For Nativity, I wanted to avoid the epic eve of the feast fight, so I had her do a dress rehearsal a few days in advance. It was a complete disastrous meltdown. I’ll spare you the details.
The very next day, while she was playing on the playground, she scraped up half her face pretty badly. Badly enough for the school to call and leave a message: “Your beautiful daughter fell and scratched her face.”
That word. Beautiful. It sent a chill down my spine. They don’t say that unless it’s serious.
Suddenly, our fight about a dress seemed so so horribly trivial.
I don’t put much stock in beauty. I much prefer good brains and a gentle personality. The older I get, though, the more I realize I have been blessed with a normal looking face and an infectious smile. Those gifts from God have gotten me far in life.
Images of disfigured male protagonists–the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame–appeared in my head. No disfigured female protagonists came to mind.*
Her father picks her up from school at the end of the day, and she runs to the front door and rings the bell.
I do the sign of the cross before I open. I know that how I react to her will define how she sees herself. I wanted my reaction to empower her to be comfortable in her own skin–even scratched.
“I was telling dad, I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news, well,” she gestures towards her face. Then she brightens, “The good news is I got to the next reading level in the SRA books!”
As usual, she’s teaching me.
*There is Penelope, currently available on Netflix. Lord, let me not be that mother.
The saints have always been examples I use to teach my children our Coptic values. I created a program to help Sunday school servants teach the saints effectively. Learn more.