I realize that most parents think their newborn bundle of joy is one of the most beautiful babies they have ever seen, but my daughter really was above average on the beauty scale. She was born with this thick dark head of hair and her eyes were framed by long, lush eyelashes. People couldn’t look at her without oohing and aahing and more than once it was suggested that we should enter her face into the coveted Parenting Magazine’s yearly photography contest. Of course I would never market my child like that, but I had to agree that she would probably win.
Among the accolades, there was only one dissenting voice. My father has always clearly made his opinion known; “All babies are ugly.” I took his comments with a grain of salt. True, I had seen some ugly babies – be honest, who hasn’t – but my daughter was definitely not part of that group.
Fast forward 3 ½ years. I am expecting my second child. Memories of my daughter’s beginning months flood my mind and I decide to take a good old walk down memory lane. I open a random photo album. Wait a minute! This is not my daughter! Someone has switched out her pictures and replaced them with a kind of ugly baby. This child has chipmunk cheeks that look full of nuts, hair that can only be described as mohawkish, and her eyes are looking suspiciously cross-eyed. I try to comprehend exactly what I am seeing. Wow, I have been duped by friends, family, and what must be motherly hormones. My dad was right all along: Babies are ugly.
When my second child decided to make his presence known, I feel like I was able to successfully take off my rose colored glasses. I took the oohs and aahs with a grain of salt, and basically listened to my dad, “Yep, he looks like all other babies…kind of ugly…but he’ll turn out okay in a few months.” I was able to admit that, yes, his cheeks did remind me of Alfred Hitchcock.
Of course, now he’s 3 months old and is surely above average in the handsome baby scale. That ugly baby syndrome is a thing of the past. And my daughter is absolutely gorgeous. And, no, I won’t be looking at baby picture albums a few years down the road to prove it. I will instead remember the way my children made me melt when they said things like “you’re a great mommy” or “I love you” or when they smiled and laughed with me or when they asked me for “some loving.” There is nothing more beautiful than that.