We were strangers, but the color of this beautiful African American woman’s skin matched that of my daughter’s so that made us kin. Standing at the finish line of our sons’ cross country race, we waited while our little girls giggled together.
I was thrilled that I’d passed the “white momma with an African baby” test. I’d been prepared by African American friends and others who’ve adopted African children that I might get stopped by a well-meaning sister. And she might give me a talking-to if I’m toting Aster around with hair that looks like her momma doesn’t know what she’s doing.
I’ve taken my assignment as hairdresser seriously. You should see me chasing my girl down to spritz her hair with water and smooth out her curls with lotion before we go ANY where.
The woman who had just complimented Aster then looked down at her 4-year old daughter and said, “I wish you had hair like that instead of that nappy mess.”
I nearly died. I wanted to tell her not to say those words. But I knew better. So I just bent down and looked into that precious little girl’s eyes and said, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! Wow, you are so pretty! And I LOVE your dress!”
I so want to help my girl see the beauty God gave her. I know I’ll mess up. I’m sure we’ll all make a big deal out of something that makes our girl feel like she isn’t pretty enough. But oh with God’s help, I pray we’ll remember that our daughters see their beauty through our eyes and our words.
I have no doubt that mom loves her child. She probably wasn’t thinking, or maybe she was repeating something someone had said to her. Hurt people hurt people, right? Makes me wonder what I risk repeating.
This made me pray for all us momma’s, that we’ll bestow beauty words and not inflict what my friend Shari calls “beauty wounds.” And if we do, let’s ask Jesus to cover our offense with His love and give us words to affirm our girls’ beauty-seeking hearts.
I’ve learned that it’s a cultural thing for African and African Americans to emphasize a woman’s beauty by the length and softness of her hair. As a momma of an African girl who may one day wish her’s was straight like mine, I’m going to do all I can to make sure she knows that I love her hair!!
Is that not the cutest thing? Aster loves it! It was written by Joey Mazzarino, Sesame Street’s head writer and Muppeteer, for his 5-year-old daughter Segi. His family adopted Segi from Ethiopia when she was one. Mazzarino, who is Italian, wrote it after noticing Segi playing with dolls and acting like she wanted hair like theirs. He wanted her to know HE loves her hair! He also said he’s happy to report his daughter loves the song — and her hair.
I wonder if it’s because her daddy sang words of love, laughter and affirmation over her. What a beautiful thing!
You know sweet friend, your Father thinks you’re beautiful! He loves your hair, eyes, nose, freckles, wrinkles, legs, feet, fluffy tummy, hips…everything! In fact. He’s so crazy about you He makes up and sings songs about you, too.