Pretty is surface.
My daughter puts on a dress and twirls around in circles. “So pretty,” she spits out. And she does look pretty as she gracefully twirls, her slinky-like curls bobbing along with her blue dress.
We are browsing the toy section during a Target run. My toddler sees Disney Princesses’-- Ariel, Moana, Belle, and Snow White dolls lined up. She picks up the Snow White doll, and the first thing she utters is “so pretty.”
“Yes baby, she does look pretty.” I nod in agreement.
She sees four-year-old girls or so-called “big kids”, in ballerina costumes, a sea of tutus flooding both of our visions, before a ballet class.
“So pretty mama,” she muses pointing to them. I do a double take.
“Yes, baby they do look pretty,” I say. Because they do.
But beautiful. I only use beautiful on select occasions.
Beauty is deep.
Beauty is beyond the physical. You can have a pretty face, but it is your soul, your passions, and what you do to make others and yourself better that makes you beautiful.
When my daughter finishes a painting in the basement and shows it to me, her face beaming with pride;
“So beautiful,” I say. I look at the red, green, blue, and purple spotted masterpiece she created on a blank sheet of paper.
Creativity is beautiful.
When my daughter shares a toy with her little sister, handing her a Rubber Ducky to play with;
“So beautiful. Sharing is beautiful,” I say. Because it is.
Being kind is beautiful.
When my toddler comforts her little sister when she hears her cry, placing her little hand on the small of her back and handing her a pacifier;
“So beautiful, you are such a good big sister,” I say.
Empathy is beautiful.
When my daughter kisses me and says “I love you so much;”
“I love you so much too, baby,” I say back and add “showing love is beautiful.”
Showing and giving love is beautiful.
When she performs a made-up dance while belting a made-up tune;
“That song is so beautiful,” I say.
Being authentically you, an original, is beautiful.
This definition of beautiful is what I will teach my daughter daily.
This post originally appeared on the author's Facebook.