On Being Beautiful
|photo by the lovely and talented jen gibson, at London Bridge Creative|
I'm not beautiful. I mean, I'm not ugly. My looks do nicely enough. But I'm not drop-your-jaw and turn-your-head, look me up and down, holy wow, how-is-that-creature-walking-this-earth?, sort of pretty. I'm okay with that. I don't think I'd like being that kind of beautiful. It appears to be sort of a hassle.
Lately though, I feel like I'm getting a taste of what it might feel like to be that beautiful, though the attention I garner is in its most innocent form:
I have a beautiful baby. She turns heads.
Or maybe it's just that I have a baby, a little baby. And though she absolutely is beautiful, there's something about her being a baby--any baby at all--that softens the world, makes it turn and coo and exclaim and comment.
"How old is she?" she asks.
"Four months," I say.
"Oh, she's beautiful," she says.
Some version of this happens every time I go anywhere with her. It happens in the aisles of the grocery store. It happens in restaurants. It happens on sidewalks. It happens in parking lots. When I take walks with her in the afternoon, people come out of their houses to see her, to say hello, to announce oh, how pretty, what a dear little baby, congratulations. And though they often mistake her for a "he" (Is it her melon-bald head that implies a male baby?), it pleases me endlessly to be the object of this sort of attention. I don't tire of it. The world is good to you when you're pushing a pram. It loves you. It calls you beautiful, even if you're not much to look at all on your own.