From day one, people have struggled with believing Tess belongs to me. The first few months she was alive, people would be so bold as to ask where I “got her,” or “what” her daddy was. I was in so much of a sleep-deprived daze that it never really sank in what they were hinting about.
As she got older, people started to say she looked “just like grandma,” meaning my mother-in-law. My father-in-law chalked this up to his “you’ve-seen-one-Mexican-you-seen-them-all” theory, but stood firmly by his wife that, no, indeed Tess was MY daughter. So, I politely smile and laugh at the right moments when people call her “grandma’s little girl.”
The truth is, I have a hard time seeing anyone in my children until I see photos of them that are six months past or older. In the given moment, thye are simply who they are – Max, Philip and Tess. And I know this one will be no different (unless, of course, it comes out with Daniel ears).
So on Easter morning, my response to a passing moment came as a complete surprise to me.
Fr. Mike walked down the side aisles, asking people to move in and make room for people still arriving. He stopped briefly at our pew to say good morning to the kids. He gasped at Tess. “She is just darling. And you know, she looks just like you. Really, just the spitting image.” Then he was gone.
I looked down into her gorgeous face and admired her beauty anew. And I owned it. Because, in that moment, being Tess’s mother made me feel radiant. I have, for as long as I can remember, struggled with my appearance. If I could live without mirrors, I would. But that morning, seeing how lovely my little girl was, I felt beautiful by proxy – if she was beautiful, I must be, too.
But isn’t that the thing about parenthood? The thing that changes us? That our children, in the good and the bad, refine us and purify us, making us the person God has created us to be. And somewhere along the way, we’re given eyes to see that, if even for just a moment. We see we are capable of being the spitting image of our Father because we are created in HIS image. THAT is beauty worth mentioning.