I caught Madelyn the night before last standing on the bathroom counter getting a full view of herself in a dress she was considering wearing the next day at school. I remember doing this when I was younger. She is nine now, and she has her own style and taste. As she fanned the skirt of her dress, twisted and touched her hair, it felt bittersweet to me. She is growing up, and it is starting to matter to her what she sees in the mirror.
I am reminded to talk with Madelyn more about who she is and not just how she looks. I often tell her how beautiful I think she is, but I am encouraged today to even more so compliment her character; how she is such a thoughtful friend, how creative she is, and how much I respect her thinking.
As Madelyn’s mother, I must remember also that I am her biggest role model. How I dress and talk about my own body shapes her thinking. I know she has seen me look at myself in the mirror. What messages does she get from that?
Maddie is a free-spirited, happy girl that enjoys life with an open heart and a desire to be unique. I think she loves picking out clothes and thinking about her next days at school. She has a natural pull towards art and design. My hope is that she pursues that interest with confident self-expression.