Last night, my daughter and I stood in line at the grocery. The store was crowded and of course they had only a few lanes open. While standing there, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek. Then she leaned against me, her head resting on my shoulder. I smoothed her soft hair and we laughed about the cover of The Globe magazine. She then decided she wanted a candy bar and wandered off. I stood there, flipping through an US magazine when I was approached by an elderly woman.
“Your daughter is beautiful.” She said.
I smiled and thanked her. My daughter is beautiful. She has been fortunate to have had no issues with weight or acne and she has a tiny hourglass figure and milky white skin. I’ve never made a big deal about her looks or her slim body. I grew up with a mother tortured by her body and in turn she tortured her children. Instead, I figured if I let nature do its job, then she’d end up the weight she was supposed to be. This doesn’t mean I bring a lot of junk food in the house, but neither do I sweat it when she wants to eat a candy bar and a bag of chips before dinner.
The elderly woman reached out and patted my arm. “You did a great job with her if she will still hug and kiss you in public as a teenager.”
I thanked her again and looked over my shoulder where Nat was doing peekaboo with a baby in a cart in another aisle. There are a lot of things I did wrong as a parent. But when I see her laughing, when she walks me to the door every morning and hugs me goodbye, when she looks at complete strangers we encounter and finds one thing nice to say them, I know I did a good job.
We’ve had a rough time through the teenage years, but she’s still loving and sweet. There are days when all we do is battle, then she’ll come in the room and tell me she wants to do better at communicating with me. She hasn’t always understood the way the grownup world works, but she’s getting there. She is generous and compassionate and she strives to be a good person. In the scheme of things, maybe raising a considerate human being is all I could have hoped for.
My daughter joined me once again in the line and she smiled at the elderly lady. “That’s a pretty scarf.” She said to her. The elderly woman beamed and moved back to her cart.
Yes, my daughter is beautiful. Inside and out.