I remember there were many times, when Vienne was a baby, when I was told that I should submit photos of her for baby modeling...or for those Baby Photo Contests. It was very flattering, for sure...and what mother doesn't love to be told how beautiful their children are? But, I quickly disregarded those suggestions. Yes, my baby Girl (both my Girls) is most definitely absolutely beautiful and breathtaking and we did not hesitate to tell her so...but, in the same thought, I tried to remain conscientious and careful about focusing too much on that. I wanted her to know that her most important beauty was in her heart. I never ever wanted her to find her worth in her external beauty. I have seen young women struggle with that, become overly preoccupied with that (heck, even I struggled with that in my youth...and can fall prey to it even now), and I wanted her to gain her confidence and worth in more worthy ways. That doesn't mean to say, though, that I didn't stare at her with awe and wonder, myself. Like my mother has said over and over, she enchanted us with her beauty, inside and out.
Now? Now, I wonder if I can be even more balanced in that. As we all know, our culture is sooo sadly tainted in focusing on the external and the material. As parents trying to prevent certain outcomes in our children, we can often sway too far in the opposite direction. On this topic of external beauty, I realize that I want to be balanced in how I approach it with Ivy. I certainly don't feel I was out of balance with Vienne...she was way too young for that to even become a topic in her eyes. But, as unhealthy as I believe it can be to overly focus on beauty....it can be as equally unhealthy to neglect to build your child's external self-esteem.
So, finding a balance is important. Thus, I want Ivy to know how beautiful she is...and how funny and smart and creative and loving and gentle she is, as well.
I believe Vienne knew these things. I am quite confident that at 4 1/2 she did not know what "fat" or "ugly" was...she didn't even know what "fair" or "hate" meant, either. But she did know what it meant to be unkind or mean and how important it was to avoid that kind of behavior. She emulated beauty in the way she treated others and that made her even more beautiful in every way. Something I am sure that we all want to aspire to.
So, let's stare in awe and wonder at my beautiful Girl. Here is a collection of my favorite "beautiful" pictures of my Vienne Juliet, whose name means "alive and full of life". (some of these are repeats of what I've shared before, but I had to include them, because they are favorites.) Vienne had a stunning and fun-filled smile but there were 'candid' pictures where we just caught her straight-faced or with that coy little smirk and those large captivating eyes that just drew you in...that is where I see the timeless beauty I will always remember.
She enchanted us. She took our breath away and I am not ashamed to say that we created one gorgeous little Girl.
(I will admit, I wondered in the beginning whether she would be cute or not...as a newborn she had such a pronounced up-turned nose and dark widow's peak! But, this is my favorite newborn photo of her.)
(our "Fairy Princess Rainbow", as she named herself in this costume...less than a week before she left us)