Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The road map to happiness is not found in the mirror


Nearly three: I. Love. This. Age.

We stood in line for preschool drop off this morning and a little boy started up a conversation.

"My brother is at school. My brother Sam goes to school. And I go to school. I pee before I go to school. And I poop as soon as Nana picks me up."

The boy's mother smiled a bit but didn't seem shaken at the randomness that her small son was unloading to a complete stranger. We are all in this together here at preschool. All of the moms and dads at preschool drop off are unshowered, weathered, slumpy. We have tiny sons and daughters who say the darnedest things and so we watch our mouths around them and hope that they don't repeat what we say behind closed doors.

Yesterday, as my friend's three-year-old inquired about whether or not Kate was a boy or a girl, he said, "Does she have a 'gina?" And my friend and I just smiled as we matter-of-factly explained the differences between boys and girls.

Have I mentioned that I love this age?

And a new friend of mine--introduced through preschool drop off--mentioned that she was wondering if any of us parents are really put together. We all scrambled for warm winter clothes this morning when we realized that the temperatures had fallen into the forties. Who needs to be perfect anyway? Kate was wet from spitting up and Dylan had dog hair sticking out of his dark blue sweater. And I...I didn't even look in the mirror this morning nor did I brush my hair, not because we were running late, we were actually quite early, but because vanity and mirrors aren't as important as morning couch snuggles with the babies.

I looked into Katie's closet this morning and realized that all of her warm winter clothes were too small for her. I bundled her up in Dylan's old teddy bear suit, zipped the boy into a puffy red vest which was newly labeled Dylan M with a Sharpie and some painters tape since there wasn't a tag to write on, and threw a sweatshirt on myself as we loaded into the car. After drop off Kate and I spent our girl time sans brother at the store buying her a whole new wardrobe.

I told Dylan as we pulled into the parking lot that I hadn't looked in the mirror. "But that's Okay," I told him, "because what matters is how you feel on the inside and how you feel about yourself." I hope my kids grow up feeling confident in their bodies. I want my daughter to love herself for her character and not simply because she looks good in her makeup.

It's that kind heart under the bear suit that counts.