In my daughter's eyes, I am strong.
As she watches me carry the 500 bags in from the car she says, "Mom! You have such big muscles!" When she sees me cry she lets me know that "even big girls cry sometimes."
When I see failure in myself, she sees her mother who shows up day in and day out, giving all that she has inside her to give. She sees effort. She sees that I am there. And when I'm not, and I feel guilty for missing out on time with them because of work—she'll later proudly declare, "I am writing a story just like Mommy!" as she types away on her invisible laptop.
She sees the strength inside me, even when I am at my weakest.
In my daughter's eyes, I am invincible.
To her—I can do anything. I move mountains. I make magic. I am an endless amount of fun and laughter and happiness and adventure. She doesn't obsess over that one week they had chicken nuggets and baby carrots for dinner every night. She doesn't know when I really wanted to be able to bring them to the beach but had to settle for our baby pool in the backyard because I couldn't get it together.
She sees the light shine bright inside me, even when I feel like it's so dim.
In my daughter's eyes, I am her hero.
To my little girl, I can conquer the world. There is no job too big or small for Mama to handle. I hate spiders, but I will get them when she's scared. She doesn't notice the mental pep talk I give myself before I grab it. I can be very shy, but I will put myself out there and start a conversation so that I can model how making friends works. She doesn't notice my heart racing when I do it.
She encourages me to be the best version of myself possible. To go after my dreams. To make the most of the life I've been given.
She sees how brave I am, even when I feel unsure of myself.
In my daughter's eyes, I am beautiful.
She doesn't notice my greasy hair, she just "likes my hair 'do." She doesn't care what kind of pants I wear—whether they're sweatpants, yoga pants, or fancy pants—she always thinks they're "pretty." She doesn't care if I skip the concealer for my natural dark circles or trade my lipstick in for chapstick. The compliments come whether I am fresh-faced or made up.
She doesn't care about stretch marks or extra pounds. She doesn't know what cellulite is or what size clothing I wear. She tells me, "I love your eyes and ears and nose and mouth and hair and face." She says things like, "Mama, you are so beautiful!" or "I love your dress" and it melts my heart every single time.
She sees my beauty, even when I feel broken.
In my daughter's eyes, I am the grown-up version of herself.
To her, my life is everything she wants to have; to be. She wants to be a mommy like me one day. She wants to marry daddy and live in the house next door. She wants to write stories (and also look for dinosaur bones, which I don't do professionally, but do do in our sandbox…)
She wants to be tall and wear earrings like mine. She'll often put one of my bras on the outside of her shirt or toddle around in my way-too-big-for-her shoes and say, "Look, I'm Mommy! Don't I look nice?"
She sees my life as something she wants, too. Even when I feel like I could be doing better, doing more.
In my daughter's eyes, I am perfect.
She doesn't worry that I've said the "wrong thing." She doesn't play it over and over in her head. She doesn't notice that I didn't make it to the gym again—she's happy I've opted to stay home with her instead. She doesn't know when I feel behind at work or when I'm annoyed with someone—she goes about her day, asking me to play, showing me her drawings…
She sees the joy in me, even when I have to search for it.
She sees me differently than anyone else does—my husband, my siblings, my parents, my friends. She sees me differently than how society does—the only thing she expects from me is love. And that comes in the form of happiness, of my time, of the pursuit of my passions, of fostering the relationships in our family, of evolving.
She sees me for who I am.
And it's about time I see myself through my daughter's eyes.