Last night I was playing with my niece Peyton. She just turned five. One of her favorite things is taking silly pictures of herself making silly faces.
The kid is hilarious! She asked me to take pictures with her. I didn’t want to. I was covered in flour from making cookies, my hair was a mess and despite recently losing weight, I still felt too heavy to take a good picture. When that thought crossed my mind, another quickly followed.
I don’t have any pictures of my mom and me being silly together when I was a kid. Every childhood picture is a carbon copy of my siblings and I sitting in nice looking outfits, nice smiles and nice hair. None of those pictures show all of the fun adventures we had while taking unexpected road trips, working in the garden, learning how to cook or doing these crazy little art projects my mom would come up with.
Despite my mother being the amazing woman and mother she is, she always made excuses such as “My hair. My outfit. My weight. My make-up.” My self-doubt mirrors hers. If this amazing woman who raised me didn’t see herself as enough, how could my incredibly flawed self ever be enough? Why would anyone want a picture of me?
Try explaining all of that to a five year old who doesn’t have those self-doubts yet. In her mind there are nice pictures and silly pictures. The best pictures are just for fun because we are happy.
We were happy.
Silly pictures of me eating her brains; As if I suddenly turned into a zombie while she was sitting in my lap.
In these pictures, I’m neither a sexy bombshell or Susie Q. Homemaker. I am an aunt, horsing around with my niece, taking “ugly” pictures. No filters, no make up, no staged scenes or special lighting to hide my flaws. I am enough just as I am.
One day Peyton will have children of her own. They will want silly pictures with her. It is my hope that instead of hearing my self-doubts echoing in her mind, she will remember moments like last night then say “Yes. Let’s take silly pictures together.”