Category Archives: Women

I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically

It’s no secret that when you become a mom, you go through a bit of an identity crisis. It can be hard to remember who you were when it feels like who you are now is someone who spends all of her time cleaning up mystery stains. Is that poop or chocolate? Apple juice or pee? I used to be on a first name basis with the mayor and win journalism awards. Cottage cheese or vomit?

Which is why these days I always dread the moment when someone asks me “so, what do you do?”

And they always ask it. Always. Because we are Americans and as Americans we need to immediately know what you do with your life so we can then determine how harshly to judge you.

God bless the U.S.A.

I didn’t always hate this quirk of American society. I proudly declared “journalist” for a long time. I worked hard to become a journalist. I loved being a journalist. It was a badge I wore with honor.

But the waters muddied a bit when my husband and I moved to Boston. Unable to get a full-time job in my field, I started working from home, writing a regular column for a handful of different newspapers and websites. I’d also occasionally take on a freelance writing project. So, I told people I was a “freelance writer.” But since that wasn’t as clear-cut as “journalist,” I’d have to describe what that entailed and watch as people’s eyes slowly glassed over because they were just being polite and oh, is that Susan over there? I should go say hello. Nice talking to you, Amy, was it?

And then we had kids and the waters got downright murky. Because now my main job was keeping those two suicidal lunatics alive while trying to squeeze in some writing time on the weekends.

“But I’m still a writer!” I’d practically scream at people, less they be confused as to my real identity. Sure, “technically” I stayed home and “raised” my children, but that didn’t make me, you know, a “mom.” It’s more like a hobby, really. I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically!

It took me awhile, but I finally realized why this stressed me out so much. The current language we have for women without a clear-cut “job” is awful. Take the word “housewife.” I hate that word. I didn’t marry my house. I mean, that thing is filthy. Even if it proposed, I’d politely decline and then hand it a broom and whisper “I think you know why.” (And “homemaker” is even worse. Especially if you have kids. Because when you have kids, you aren’t “making” a “home” so much as you are trying to prevent said kids from burning it down to the ground).

I also loathe the term “stay-at-home mom.” I don’t stay at home. No mom does. We’re constantly lugging those adorable damn kids everywhere. And yet, no one refers to us as Playground-Library-Gas Station-Coffeeshop-Liquor Store moms.

Alas, these are the terms we are stuck with if we are the ones primarily taking care of the domestic side of life (and fellas, I haven’t forgotten about you; “househusband” and “stay-at-home dad,” even when used tongue-in-cheek, is equally inaccurate and ridiculous).

Can you imagine if we referred to everyone by their most common location and their role in the family? Oh hey, let me introduce you to my other half, Ryan. He’s an office husband.

Or, hey, nice to see you, Sheryl, I’d like you to meet my bar grandpa.

This is Lila, my stay-at-the-yoga-studio sister-in-law.

My crackhouse cousin had a rough upbringing, what with being raised by my prison uncle and my motel aunt.

Why yes, I have two teenagers, a couch son and a Burger King parking lot daughter.

You get the picture.

Why do we still use these terms? Even “working mom” is a bit of a misnomer. No one calls my husband a “working dad.” He’s a graphic designer. Who happens to have kids.

And I wouldn’t even care about how inaccurate the current words are that we use to describe women who deal in the domestic arts, except for the fact that they have a faint whiff of negativity surrounding them. Housewives are considered vapid or desperate or gold diggers. Stay-at-home moms are boring or unambitious or lazy. Homemakers are busy wearing gingham dresses and churning butter in the corner of the kitchen.

So, it’s time we start changing these outdated and, quite frankly, unfair titles. I haven’t come up with the new terms just yet (what with spending all my time sniffing mystery stains and all) but maybe something like “I parent full-time” or “I’m a professional mom” or “I’m my toddler’s juice bitch.”

Or maybe all of us ladies can take a page from the Tyrion Lannister playbook and when people ask us what we do, we coolly respond “I drink, and I know things.”

Because that one is 100 percent accurate.

 

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Free at last, free at last

Hi. How’s your day going? I have cabbage leaves in my bra.

And no, this isn’t some fancy new way to make coleslaw I learned from Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop (although I wouldn’t put it past her). Oh no. My bra is stuffed with produce because it allegedly has healing powers. Which I need because after nine long months, I am …(drum roll, please)… finally weaning my youngest, and last, baby!

I’m WEANING, you guys!

And I’m WOVING it!

Well, not the actually weaning part. Weaning, for those of you who have never experienced it, is incredibly painful. Sure, you look like a porn star for roughly five days, but you can’t enjoy it because when you turn off the spigot and don’t tell the 500 gallons of breastmilk that is still trying to squeeze into your medium-sized chest, it makes even breathing a daunting task. Here’s a horrific visual for you: Take any body part or organ and imagine you can blow it up like a balloon to mass capacity. And then blow a little bit more air into it. And then a little more. And then imagine that area is constantly under attack from tiny, yet brutally sharp, little elbows.

But I am loving that my breastfeeding days are coming to an end.

My boobs are mine again!

All mine!

I am the Boob Nazi! No boob for you!

Now, according to every other “last breastfeeding post” ever written, I should be sad. Very, very sad. Oh, my last baby is growing up. Boo hoo. I’ll miss the closeness and the blah, blah, blah. I want to remember every moment of my last time. Tear. Sigh. It all went by too fast.

But not me. Oh god, not me. I am practically jumping for joy (and would be literally if my boobs weren’t currently two swollen beach balls straining to explode off my chest). As soon as my nipple was out of her mouth that last time, I started running around the house screaming “FREEEEEEDOM” like Mel Gibson in “Braveheart.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love babies. My own especially, but pretty much all other babies as well (except for my neighbor’s baby Jaslynn…she knows what she did). It’s just that babies are so. much. work. The best, most rewarding, work I’ve ever done. But the hardest. With absolutely no overtime pay. Or any pay. Or even a lunch break.

So I tend to celebrate as my own kids grow older and become more independent. I mean, that’s the goal, isn’t it? Getting them to the point where they can navigate the world without me? As the old saying goes, a mother’s job is to make her job obsolete. So, as much as I adore being my toddler’s No. 1 Juice Bitch, I look forward to the day he can get his own and I can drop that title from my resume.

And as amazing as it is that I was able to provide food for my baby using my own body, I’m glad to no longer be her main source of nourishment. Mostly because I just want to be able to eat a cheeseburger with two hands again.

Of course, this attitude will most likely change the second my kids are old enough to no longer want to cuddle, or hug me in public, or realize I am not, in fact, the funniest person on the planet. I guarantee I will immediately turn into the dad from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and start wailing “why you want to leave me?”

But for now, I am celebrating. With cabbage leaves. And vodka. And a series of nude selfies I’ll be sending to my husband because, seriously, my boobs will never look this amazing again.

 

 

Why I went to the Women’s March

I’ve been trying to write this godforsaken article for hours now. So much of my social media feed is cluttered with people demanding to know why women across this country felt the need to protest and, as someone who participated, I felt it was my duty to explain. To respond. To…ugh…get a dialogue going.

I started a bunch of sentences. About how we’re fighting for equal pay. For the right to paid maternity and paternity leave. For reasonable access to affordable healthcare. For the right not to have our genitalia grabbed by strangers. For equality for everyone. On and on and on.

There were so many reasons. But I was getting increasingly frustrated the more I tried to justify why I decided to exercise my American right to peacefully protest. And it took me awhile (clearly) but I think I finally figured out why I was having so much trouble.

I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if you don’t “get it.”

I spent the day surrounded by a sea of people who did. And they spilled out into the streets to make themselves heard. They wanted their government, who works for them, for all of us, to know how a huge chunk of us felt about the direction we were headed as a nation. And it was beautiful and life-affirming and gave me hope and made me realize that this nation is already great and there are huge swaths of us fighting to make it even better.

But most importantly, it made me realize that the burden of explaining why we did this didn’t have to fall on my shoulders. Because if the sight of hundreds of thousands of women, men and children all uniting for equal rights bothers you, maybe you need to examine why it bothers you. If the idea of a level playing field bothers you, then perhaps you should examine why it bothers you.

Because if you don’t get why women’s rights are human rights, I can’t make you understand. Nor can I make you feel how oppressive it is to hear a lifetime’s worth of negative comments about how you look, your weight, your wrinkles, your clothes, your makeup, your attitude, your competence, your drive, your passion, your sexuality.

If you see nothing wrong with blaming a rape victim for being raped rather than blaming the rapist, I can’t make you see how wrong and cruel that is.

If you don’t think it’s appalling that a country as wealthy and advanced as America has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world, I can’t make you be appalled.

If you don’t think it’s criminal that we pass laws that punish children for having poor parents, I can’t make you see how reprehensible that is.

If you can’t possibly fathom why a minority or a gay person or an immigrant or a young girl would be scared for their safety, I can’t make you try to imagine what it’s like to be them.

I can’t make you care about other people in this country. I can’t make you understand that just because you have it good and I have it good in this country doesn’t mean that everyone else does. These are all things you need to try to understand for yourself. Because clearly a huge portion of our population already understands these things.

We will not go backward in this great nation of ours that I personally happen to love. Not without a fight. If you understand nothing else, understand that. The 1950’s, the 1980’s, the 1800’s…whatever time period you thought America was great and are trying to get back to, was only great for a small minority.

But I, and millions of other Americans who marched Saturday, want it great for all.

And if you don’t understand that, that’s on you.

 

 

Mama said there’ll be days like this

Now before I say what I’m getting ready to say, let me say first that I realize I am hardly the first person to ever say this. Thousands, or hell, probably even millions of other people have not only said this, but said it much more eloquently and with far less booger jokes than I ever could. But after the week I had, I feel one more time is absolutely necessary. So, here it goes.

This stage of life is hard.

Oh, so hard.

Not that all stages of life don’t have their hard parts. They do. I remember the hard days possibly even more clearly than the not-hard-days of my carefree childhood. Because even in the happiest of childhoods, there are still monsters under the bed and playground bullies and a big, big scary world to navigate while only having a waist-high view of the big picture.

But this particular stage…oof. It can feel like a battle. A battle that you aren’t even trying to win anymore but just trying to summon up the will to show up for day in and day out.

War may be hell but raising small children is setting up permanent residence there.

OK, OK, yeah, that one went too far. Sorry. I love my life and my children and could not have engineered a more picturesque family life if I tried. Most days I look around and can’t believe my incredible luck that I get to be surrounded daily by the most amazing people to ever walk this planet.

I’m just so tired, you guys. Oh, so tired. And no matter how great your life is, there are bound to be bad days. And sometimes those bad days stretch out for an entire week. And all this week I’ve been dealing with a sick baby and a sick toddler and a partially incapacitated husband who was trying his best but was also sick and still trying to do his job and work on a freelance project in his spare time. To top it all off, my stupid dog is getting old and was diagnosed with a heart murmur and arthritis and I love my stupid dog so much and if anything ever happened to him I would DIE.

Again, sorry. As you can tell, I tend to get dramatic when I’m tired. No, YOU need to tone it down, missy!

There were doctor appointments and vet appointments and a million miles walked around the house in the middle of the night trying to soothe a miserable infant. There were too many tantrums to count and too many meals that had to be made and too many arguments about stupid, little things and too many loads of laundry and dishes and too many boogers being wiped on my jeans (fine, mustard-stained sweatpants).

There were just too many tiny creatures needing tender, loving care and not enough of me to go around.

And it all culminated on Friday afternoon when I had to pick the dog up from the vet but since we only have the one car, I had to walk there with one kid strapped to my chest and pushing the other one in the stroller. The dog was straining with all his might against the leash and the baby was crying again and I was unsuccessfully trying to steer the stroller with one hand and the diaper bag weighed a million pounds and my back was aching from the dog’s constant pulling and then the dog zigged when I zagged and I dropped the leash and he took off running and it was the ultimate nightmare scenario. I’m trying to chase him beside the incredibly busy road while also trying not to jostle my 4-month-old too much or tipping over my toddler in the stroller. Meanwhile, visions of my stupid dog as bloody roadkill kept flashing before my eyes.

Long story short, I finally do catch the dog. And then I just stand there. And cry.

And cry and cry and cry.

Cars zooming past, baby still crying, dog still straining, toddler asking repeatedly “what’s wrong, Momma?”

And yet, all I can do is stand there and cry.

So, why do I bother sharing this horrible moment in my life? Simply to remind those of you who are in a similar boat, who are juggling kids and stupid, beloved pets and jobs and obligations and deadlines and aging parents and house buying and internal demons and external hazards and an aching back and a budget that never seems to stretch enough while in the background a steady hum of news reports declaring the end of the world is nigh plays continuously, that you are not alone.

This part is hard. But you showed up for today. You may or may not be wearing pants, but hey, you showed up. Better yet, you managed to sneak in some snuggles and a game of tickle monster and an almost coherent conversation about dinosaurs riding in rocket ships.

We’re going to get through this. Just like how I eventually wiped away my tears and continued on my way home, we’ll all eventually dust ourselves off and keep going.

And in the meantime, let’s all take a moment to breathe deep and look around and soak it in. Because one day all the noise will stop. All the chaos will stop. All the craziness will stop. And we’re going to miss it. You know we will. And we will wonder what we were ever complaining about in the first place.

 

I’m running away from home

If you would have asked me 10 years ago what I saw myself doing in the future, arguing for 23 minutes with a toddler about appropriate places to poop would have been fairly low on the list (which, by the way, the bathtub, Momma’s bed and the dairy aisle at the grocery store all equal Not Appropriate for any of you toddlers out there reading this).

Winning the Pulitzer Prize, divorcing Orlando Bloom so I could marry Ryan Reynolds, sailing on a fancy boat with a clever name like Ship For Brains; all of these answers would have probably come tumbling out of my mouth (No, YOU were a delusional 25-year-old!).

Even jail wouldn’t have been too outlandish an answer (No, YOU have issues with authority!).

But running on a trail with actual running shoes when nothing was chasing me and/or I wasn’t trying to make it to the liquor store before it closes? That wouldn’t have even made it ON the list.

Running for fun? Pffft. In my book, those two things are mutually exclusive. Much like, say, a delicious vegan meal or a funny Kevin James movie.

And yet, here I am, sweaty and gross and begrudgingly emitting an aura of health because I just got done with a run. A run I did ON PURPOSE.

It all started because after I had my second baby my body was 80 percent mush. And, to be honest, I’m not really comfortable in my own skin when I’m above 75 percent bodily mush. So, as much as I hated it, I gritted my teeth and ran (well, did a weird walk/sad jog hybrid before working my way up to my current level of just a sad jog).

But then a funny thing happened. I started to look forward to these runs. So much so, in fact, that I was actually willing to do them at 6 a.m., watching the sun rise while my perky ponytail swished back and forth like I’m goddamn Kate Hudson in some rom-com. Not because I started to like to run. Oh god, no. It’s the worst. But because that 45 minutes hoofing it around the park gave me an escape from my kids.

I love my kids. Of course I do. You know I do. Just like I know you love your kids. Children are amazing human beings we occasionally want to murder.

And so that we don’t murder them, we do insane things like literally run away from home (albeit temporarily).

The best part is that even though my main motivation while running is that at some point I will stop running, all this exercise is helping me get back to myself. To the person I was before I considered a trip to Target by myself as a luxurious vacation.

It’s easy to lose yourself in the demands of parenthood. To remember that you are not just a glorified sippy cup re-filler and breathing boob milk dispenser. Having children changes you to your very core but it doesn’t erase your former self. That person is still in there, waiting to come out occasionally so they can look around and say “why the hell are we running?”

Running helps me remember that I’m a complex person with interests outside achieving the perfect brown color on a grilled cheese sandwich. And on the other end of the spectrum, although I have yet to feel that mythical runner’s high, I have experienced what I call “cranial radio static.” This is when your brain just stops and there’s no thought; just music and pavement and your feet going one in front of the other and heavy breathing and chaotic jiggly butt movement. And as a mom and a writer and a woman who keeps up with the news in 2016, anything that helps you turn off your brain even for a short while is a miracle.

But most importantly, now that I have kids, I want to be healthy enough that I live forever. I want to be the unbelieveably old lady with the leather face that says wildly inappropriate things at Christmas about losing her virginity and terrifies her infant great-grandchildren because she looks like the Crypt Keeper and sounds like Marge Simpsons’ sisters. But she don’t care. Cause she lived through both 9/11 and the Kardashians.

 

 

Have you hugged your nurse today?

She couldn’t have been much more than 100 pounds. Just super petite. Tiny even. This was made even more apparent when compared to my extremely rotund and bloated figure. So when she said “lean your head against my chest and squeeze my hands when the pain hits,” I laughed. And then laughed again. And then the laughter walked right up to the border of hysterical, mostly because Dolph Lundgren’s voice saying “I must break you” in Rocky IV kept running through my head.

But then the pain hit. I gasped and squeezed as hard as I could as the world’s largest epidural needle penetrated where no needle had ever dared penetrate before. And suddenly, Nurse Itty McLittle turned into a rock made of steel and Ryan Reynold’s abs.

Yet her voice suddenly took on the soothing murmur of a grandmother comforting a toddler with a boo-boo knee.

“You’re doing great. It’s almost over. Almost there. You’re doing fantastic, Momma.”

That’s when it hit me. No matter what happened from here on out with the birth of my first child, I was in very good hands. The very good, freakishly strong hands of a caring nurse.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was going to get through this in one piece.

Bringing a life into this world, and the aftermath of that birth, whether you did it the old-fashioned way or via a cesarean, is absolutely brutal. We’re not supposed to admit this, of course. Not in our society. Oh no. Women are supposed to have an 8-pound human exit their body and then continue on their day as if nothing happened (and God help you if you aren’t back to your pre-pregnancy weight the second they cut that umbilical cord). Nevermind that your body has been stretched to the limit physically, mentally and emotionally. Nevermind that you haven’t slept, haven’t ate, haven’t been able to take a pain-free breath. Nevermind that when you tell the lactation specialist, with giant crocodile tears in your eyes, that there is a large amount of blood in your breastmilk when you pump, and her response is “oh, don’t worry, the blood won’t hurt the baby,” and your response is “that wasn’t my concern.” No. Nevermind all that.

It’s time to get over it. You’re a mom now.

I mean, it’s not like you’re a man with cold. Back to work, lady.

Part of the blame for this falls on our society in general, which has made it clear time and time again that we don’t necessarily value mothers or what they do. But another big chunk is simply that when you have a baby, everything becomes about the baby. You, your partner, your parents, your in-laws. All of your collective concern is on the baby. It is tiny. It is fragile. And even though you’ve only known it for 30 seconds, you all love it with such devotion that you would die if anything happened to it.

They’re miracles. Our own personal miracles.

How can a bloody and broken and stretched and exhausted mom body compare to that?

It can’t. Except when it came to the nurses. They’re the ones who saw me. In all the chaos, they saw me. They saw my bloody, broken, stretched, exhausted body and they took care of me.

They, for lack of a better word, mommed me.

This was especially apparent with my second baby. Because when you are a mom, it doesn’t matter if you have another child’s head emerging from your vagina at that exact moment. Your toddler will still ask you to get him some juice.

So when, after getting someone else a cup of juice no less than 1,672 times, someone asks you if YOU’D like some juice? It’s enough to make a crazy hormonal, homicidally sleep-deprived new mom cry tears of joy.

Of course, none of this is to discount what my husband and my mom and my mother-in-law did for me during this time. All three went above and beyond to take care of me, the baby, my older son, my ridiculously needy, neurotic dog and our quirky home with its weird windows and very vocal refrigerator.

I also had a fantastic doctor who got me from Point A to Point “Get This Thing The Hell Out Of Me” with grace and humor and competence.

But it was the nurses, oftentimes working quietly in the background, that need to have the spotlight shined on them.

So many of us new mothers feel we can’t complain or even acknowledge the amount of pain we are in because the gift we get in return is so much greater. And that’s where the nurses swoop in with their invisible superhero capes. They take care of us without us ever having to ask. They know we need tender, loving care even if we don’t.

It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, I think. The kind of person who you can meet and within 90 seconds has you comfortable enough with them that you let them help you pee. The kind of person who makes you feel like you are their only patient, when in reality they are overworked, underpaid and haven’t had time to go to the bathroom themselves since 8 a.m.

I realize that for my nurses I was likely just another patient that day. But to me, they made all the difference. Their smiles, their gentle hands, their patience, their laughter, their reassurances, their ability to answer my god-awfully stupid first-time parent questions without a single eyeroll. They are how I survived those utterly terrifying first days of motherhood.

So to all the nurses out there, I want to thank you for seeing me. And I want you to know that I see you and all you do.

I see you.

And while I’ll forever be grateful to my wonderful and highly skilled doctor for bringing my children into this world, I’ll forever be grateful to every nurse who graced my hospital room door for bringing me back to life.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

I can’t remember exactly how old I was. It was probably around age 11. A lot of important revelations are made when you turn 11. Like realizing tater tots are the world’s most perfect food and how one eye roll is worth a thousand “whatever’s.”

So it was probably around this time that I decided it was my nose. It was so obvious. Literally right there way out in front of my face. All my problems in life began and ended with my nose.

What was wrong with it exactly? Pffft. Where to even start? Too big from the front view, too long from the side view. It was simultaneously too skinny at the bridge yet too bulbous at the nostrils. If some girls had button noses, I had a jacked up, gigantic, old lady brooch on my face.

I was the love child of Jimmy Durante and Dumbo.

Oh, if only it weren’t for my nose. I then might have had a shot at being kind of pretty. Not cute, of course. And certainly not beautiful. I was nothing if not a young realist. But with enough makeup and hairspray and overpriced Urban Outfitter sweaters, I could pass for kind of pretty if you were squinting.

Sigh.

If only it weren’t for my nose.

It really was a kind of Greek tragedy on a micro-scale. Because when I was 11, if you couldn’t even pass for kind of pretty, it meant you were ugly. And being ugly meant life was over.

Over the years, of course, the culprits changed. If only I wasn’t so pale. Clearly I was also meant to be a blonde. My naturally dark hair washes me out. And these crooked teeth. The only girl in my junior high school without braces and now I’m paying for it with a smile that would put Steve Buscemi to shame. Obviously I also need to lose 10 pounds. Although 30 would be better.

As I got older, entirely new regions became problematic. Was that the beginning of a forehead wrinkle? Where did this arm flab come from? Apparently these under-eye circles are permanent now. Cellulite? It cellu-bites. Then there was the fateful day I discovered going braless was clearly no longer an option.

There was always something preventing me from living the perfect life of the women in the perfume ads.

But the most disturbing thing of all is how this kind of vicious tearing down of every aspect of our appearance is so ingrained into so many of us women that we no longer see the absolute absurdity of it. It’s completely normal. I mean, talk about multi-tasking. From a very young age, this internal monologue runs through our heads as we earn top grades in school and play three different sports and act in plays and create art and start our careers and earn accolades and fall in love and volunteer and travel the world and get published and rescue shelter pets and raise our kids and buy our own home.

But who has time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished in life when our unruly and patchy eyebrows aren’t perfectly plucked into an arch?

And I’m sure I would have skipped happily to my death with this Imperial March of Imaginary Facial and Bodily Deformities continually running through my head if it weren’t for one small thing. One very small thing, in fact.

Here in a few months I will be giving birth to a daughter. A beautiful, perfect little girl. A sweet, pink-cheeked tiny angel.

Who is going to emerge from my body as the devil herself.

Yes, apparently my wonderful not-yet-born baby girl is bound to be difficult. Because, according to multiple sources, girls are so much more difficult than boys. My closest family members tell me this. My good friends tell me this. Complete strangers who ask the gender of my swollen belly feel the need to tell me this as they are awkwardly rubbing me like I’m a breathing, bloated magic lamp.

Boys will be boys. But girls? Well, girls will be brats.

Of course, not everyone believes this. But it sure feels like it. And it makes me so utterly sad.

Because whether or not you believe raising girls is more difficult, the fact remains it is more difficult to be a girl. Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in heels. And the poor lady was still expected not to sweat her makeup off or muss up her hair.

This is the world my “bound-to-be” difficult daughter is entering. Complete with a “I feel naked without ten pounds of eyeliner on” mother raising her to boot.

She doesn’t stand a chance.

Which is why I now realize something has to change, starting with me. Because I don’t want my daughter wasting any time sitting in front of a mirror hating her face at the tender age of 11. Not when there are books to read and trees to climb and adventures to begin and secret giggles to share and songs to belt out off-key and races to run and ice cream on hot afternoons to eat.

I want her, when she even bothers to notice her face, a face that I gave her, to realize that it’s just one small part of the amazing whole that makes up who she is. As are her bony knees and loud laugh and curly hair and love of dogs and freckled shoulders and all the other actual elements that will make up who she is that I can’t even imagine yet.

I want makeup and fashion to simply be something creative she gets to play around with, not something that determines her self-worth. I want exercise to be fun, not something she has to do to be considered desirable. I want food to be delicious fuel, not a life-long battle she always thinks she’s losing. I want success to be how she defines it, not how the boy she likes defines it, not how a magazine defines it and not how the more terrible elements of the Internet comments section defines it.

But that can only happen if she has a good role model. And I’m determined that she will.

Because as it turns out, my nose was actually perfect this whole time.