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.

I walk into a store, and an older woman holds the door open for me, exuding sympathy for my awkward maneuvering, as if she's momentarily projecting herself back into new motherhood by looking at me. She looks down at Henrietta as we pass and I say thank you.

"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.  


eden said…
one thing i've noticed when carrying a baby around is that people tend to smile at you a whole lot more when they see you're holding a baby.

it's nice. (:
Sam Ruddick said…
i think you're beautiful.
Amara said…
You're beautiful on your own too! Soak up that attention over there. One thing about Utah county that isn't so nice is that kids are so numerous, there are so many babies around, that people don't notice as much. It made me a little sad when I'd come back from vacations in Cali and a family was ordinary again - - a baby wasn't noticed for the miracle she really is.
Meeshab said…
My comment didnt post :(. Sam is right! You are beautiful! And your baby is exceptionally beautiful and bright among babies! I love the attention babies get too. They're so special and welcoming.
belann said…
I have to say that I remember as your momma I got that same attention when I was out with you. You are beautiful. So is my grandbaby.
Giuli said…
Okay, I'm laughing over here thinking of the Seinfield episode when their friend had a really ugly baby, and you never actually saw the baby but you saw everyone's reaction to the baby. Not that your baby is ugly, by any means, she is really cute, in an little impish kind of way. Does she have a little sneaky grin or what? Don't worry about the bald head, Kizzie was almost completely bald until a few months ago, and now she has shinning brown curls. Still too short on the top to pin up, but I manage to do pigtails on occasion. I think what makes babies adorable at that age is their looks of joy and rapture at everything and everyone. I must say that although Jack and I aren't totally gorgeous, we make some pretty cute kids. Max will thank his dad for giving him long eyelashes about the age of 16. You are beautiful and glowing in all of your pics Deja. Being a mom is hard work!
Annie said…
This is so sweet.

I like the attention babies get, too. Except that one time when I was at the store and a lady noticed my baby, then expressed how worried she was that I wasn't old enough to have a baby. According to her I looked 14. Then I regretted the attention.

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