The Greatest Gift: To Be YOU-tiful

My mind has been stewing over what kind of gift to get Chicklet for her first birthday. “It’s got to be special,” I think to myself. It’s a unique mental dilemma for someone who’s jaded by our consumer-driven society, but simultaneously wants to give her kid the world.

Just Be YOU tiful!

Just Be YOU tiful!

That saying is rather grandiose, no? “Give her the world.” What does that even mean? When I back up just a moment I realize that I am giving her the world every single day. “The world” is what we, her parents, identify as the surroundings and experiences we’ll share with her. So each day we’re gracefully taking in the many facets – spiritual and physical — of the world.

The most important gifts I’ve been given in my life are the lessons that people, experiences, and phases have taught me. They are invaluable. They never go out of style. I’ll never outgrow them. I carry them with me in my spiritual purse each day.

In the last year I’ve learned the most important and beautiful lesson that I never even realized I needed to know: To be myself, whole-heartedly and unapologetically. I didn’t realize how much trouble I had embracing myself until my daughter came into my life and unwittingly taught me how in the most incredibly, astounding, and beautiful ways.

It’s ironic that adults want to empower children with knowledge we believe we have that they don’t, but should have. My daughter already knows her own power. She only knows how to be herself. The judgment of herself has not been clouted by anything or anyone – not society, her surroundings, peers, nothing. And my goal is to mitigate the inevitable clout so she can continue to be herself, whole-heartedly and unapologetically, as best she can. Because that person is not only good enough, she is GREAT.

Time will pass. Our lifestyles will change. The toys that litter our living room floors and the ensembles she dons will be passed on. But this post hopefully will keep a digital footprint that she (and everyone else) can forever reference.

Estelle, my love,

Thank you for teaching me to BE-YOU-TIFUL. These are some of the many lessons I owe to you.

Enjoy the time.
It’s a basic sentiment but packs such power. I’ve truly come to understand that the moment in front of us is all we have, so just enjoy it – fully seize it. Feel it. Accept ambivalence that may come of it. You’ve helped me stay centered and focus on every moment with you, whatever comes of the time. Time is precious and moves very quickly, so thanks for empowering me to treasure it so intensely.

Stellie meets daffodils in a city garden :)

Stellie meets daffodils in a city garden 🙂

Don’t fret when life gets messy.
And it does. A silly human detriment is to define “messy” in such subjective terms. We may cite “messy” but consider the term “unkempt” – perhaps merely something we’re not accustomed to or comfortable with. You’ve taught me how a little “mess” can actually reduce my stress, especially at mealtime. The value in your discovery of the textures and flavors of food, as well as the eating process, supersedes my need for cleanliness and rigid aesthetics. Plus, we have Magic Erasers. We good.

Stellie does Easter at Lombardi's Pizza

Stellie does Easter at Lombardi’s Pizza

Love yourself, whole-heartedly and unapologetically.
Life has changed! My weight, body, and the way I perceived it all did, too. Rather than scrambling to find a shred of what’s “normal” and acceptable to others, I know that approval of my own self is the most critical to my happiness and well-being. You prevent me from the frightening fall on a downward spiral of shame about my body, because I would never want that for you. Thanks for helping me love myself so that I could love you the way that I do.


The list of lessons goes on, just like the love and adoration I have for you, Estelle. These are just the ones that crown that list, and should be gifted to others.

Happy First Birthday, my darling Estelle!


2 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift: To Be YOU-tiful

  1. My sweet girls❤️Mandy this was perfect and beautiful, I love you and my Stellie so much😘😘😘 I’m crying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s