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When your daughter asks if she's pretty

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"Mom, am I pretty?"

"Yes, of course you're pretty. You're beautiful."

"Yes but are you saying that as my mom, or am I really pretty?"

Let me tell you a secret about moms.

We see you as that baby we loved and prayed and waited for. The baby we stayed up nights with and worried over. The baby we held while swaying to the music of our hearts beating together.

We see you as that toddler with the dancing eyes and unsteady feet. The one we taught to walk and we taught to dance. The toddler we shushed during church and pushed in the swing.

We see you as that sturdy kid with the missing teeth and noodle necklace on Mother's Day. The one we made get back in bed but would read just one more story to. The kid whose hugs smelled like crayons and glue and hope and fun.

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We see you as that young person trying to figure out the world and your place in it. The one who feels in between, neither child nor adult. The one who would cling to us one day and push us away the next. The one setting down your parents' faith and picking up your own.

We see all of you - the flaws and the scars, the beauty and the potential. The tantrums and kindness, the courage and fears. The one created in the image of God, via our bodies and hearts.

So, yes. I say you're beautiful as your mom. Because a mom's eyes see more clearly than a mirror or a camera. They see more clearly than a friend. They see more clearly than a boyfriend, girlfriend, or stranger on the street.

You're my child. And you're beautiful.

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