I was one of those little girls who dreamed a prince on horseback would wisk me to his castle and tell the world he scored the most beautiful maiden in the land. Then I graduated from college and discovered reality.
I wasn’t greedy in my spousal requirements—a normal educated guy who wore button down shirts and went to a decent office job every day. A good dad who changed diapers and told our kids they have the best mother in the universe. And naturally, a guy who thought I was the most beautiful creature that ever roamed the planet…and told me so. Regularly.
I got one “you’re so beautiful” whispered to me in our limo on our wedding day. Then the Adjective Gods stripped the word from his vocabulary and replaced it with “nice” — I’d spend hours getting ready for his class reunion or office party, sweep into his presence and ask, “How do I look?”
After five years of being described as a used car, I gave up on ever hearing the word “beautiful” come out of my husband’s mouth.
Then our daughter was born…and the Adjective Gods reverse-bonked my husband over the head with their word wand—”Look at her, she’s beautiful! Isn’t she, hon?”
I never wanted to be one of those warped moms who resented her daughter because she’s prettier, more talented and self-assured than me. I sweetly and politely thanked every stranger in the grocery store (and there were many) that gushed over my daughter: “She’s SO beautiful! Look at those BLUE eyes!” Then they’d release their drooling gazes from her and look at me. Then back at her. Then back at me. “She’s SO beautiful! She must look like her father.”
I didn’t resent them. I didn’t resent my baby girl; but it was hard to not resent my husband every time he used the one word for our daughter I wanted to hear:
“How’s my beautiful girl today?” Then I’d walk in the room and he’d say, “You look nice. Going somewhere?”
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the way Scott treated me (despite the lack of one adjective) in front of our daughter—the wonderful example he set on what a good, loving husband and father is and should be—so she’d know what was healthy and desirable in a future boyfriend or spouse.
And all his “beautifuls” weren’t hollow, distracted comments— behind the adjective was pure devotion, admiration and sacrificial love of a hands-on dad who wore button down shirts, went to a decent office job every day, changed our kids’ diapers and told them, time and again, they had the best mother in the universe.
The day of our daughter’s senior prom arrived. She posed next to her daddy for pictures—their matching blue eyes smiling at each other in complete admiration. It was a joy to see to see this attractive, confident, young woman happily surrounded by her well-chosen friends.
As we watched her walk into the restaurant, I thought of all my husband did over the years to help me shape this amazing young woman. That realization was far more important than any adjective I’d longed to hear directed at me. It made me, and our little life we’d built, feel quite beautiful indeed.