There are purple petunias in my backyard. They’re not that harsh deep purple color that’s garish and entirely too strong. They’re more of a purple flirting with a dash of pink. But they aren’t pink, so don’t get freaked out (I don’t like pink petunias). Anyway, they stand out like Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes. You know how you’d look at her, in all her beauty, but her eyes just sort of popped out like they were made of jewels. These purple guys make the white petunias out there, which have always been my favorites, and which I happen to think are fashionable and stylish (even after labor day) look like they are slumming. The purple ones, well, they’re the standouts in the crowd.
Yesterday my daughter got her braces off. After two years, of broken wires and swollen gums, sore teeth and a refusal to use her rubber bands, the heavy metal is in a trash can somewhere on Beacon Street. She has some gum swelling, so things will only get better, but she looks beautiful. And of course, she can’t stop looking at herself. And who could blame her, after toting around a full mouth of silver for two and a half years, she hasn’t seen what she really looks like since she was in 8th grade. She reminds me of the purple petunias. She’s that same kind of magic.
I have read about mothers being jealous of the way their daughters look, angry that their own youth has flown the coop. I can’t imagine that feeling for even one second. I love to see Ally’s youth on display, her flat stomach, her smooth skin. I could stare all day at her beautifully thick hair, that practically no hairdresser can even blow dry, and which has a blonde streak that she was born with. I adore her blue eyes, that I always wanted to have. I might be slightIy jealous of her nose, but no, I don’t think so. I have never been jealous of my daughter, who has always been prettier than me from the day she was born. I love it. You go, little Ally girl. You enjoy every day of your beauty. Don’t rely on it. It’s not everything. But gosh, it’s nice.
And so to my baby, who gets to see her teeth, I say gratefully, enjoy them, and use your big gorgeous smile often, and be thankful for your flawless complexion, and everything else about being young and pretty. As my mom used to say to me all the time, “Pretty is, as pretty does.” Yes, a thousand times yes, it’s more important what you look like on the inside (but it’s kind of fun to have a good looking exterior, too, mom).