subtitle: I havent forgotten the questions you left me in the comments.
Did you tell your daughter what you were doing? Or is she too young (I don’t have kids yet)?
I want to hear more about what you talked to your daughter about (during Operation Beautiful). She is the same age as my daughter.
Ever since I regaled you with how the Tornado & I blanketed Austin with missives of love the two comments above have been on my mind.
(*here’s where you may wanna settle in & get comfy although Im gonna try NOT to yammer as I’d rather hear your thoughts*)
One of my struggles as a mother is fighting the urge to over-answer my daughter’s questions.
I need to repeatedly remind myself to only answer what she’s asking me & not launch into a rant giving her way more info than she’s remotely interested in hearing.
It isnt even that she’s not ready for some of the stuff about which I long to ramble—-it’s freakin boring for her & not what she wants to know.
It was with that as a backdrop I worked to allow our conversations during Operation Beautiful to merely unfold.
I focused on letting her be my guide and ask all the questions.
And then I answered precisely what she’d asked.
(I resisted the urge to launch into a tirade about make-up/women feeling pressure to wear it in order to be seen as beautiful and the media’s standardized image of beauty and women feeling pressure to be skinny and….)
She, of course, immediately wanted to know what we were doing and why (“leaving notes for people that we hope will make them smile!”).
We talked about how everyone wakes up in a grumpy mood some days (good G-d she knows that feeling well) & how hearing nice things can brighten up a grumpy day & make us feel happy again.
I asked her what kinds of things made her happy (“HUGS! SPLASH DAY! POP-A-SICLES!”) and then allowed myself a mini-ramble about how words—like ours on the notes— can be a form of written hug (insert Toddler eyeroll here).
Then she wanted the nitty gritty.
The WHAT WE WERE SAYING WHICH WOULD CAUSE PEOPLE TO SMILE.
It was here I almost began to stammer a bit.
You see, in her literal three year old mind beauty is all looks.
To her beauty is about the superficial that, IMO, Operation Beautiful is working to avoid.
And then I remembered that in her amazing sans-judgment unconditional positive regard three year old mind everyone is beautiful—-unless they are overtly mean or cruel.
So that’s what we talked about.
How some days people are tired (*mama raises hand*) or grumpy or just plain ole sad and need reminding that they are beautiful and great and ENOUGH even if the reminding comes from a stranger.
(Insert mini-lecture here about Judaism & the fact that anonymous ‘giving‘ is the highest form. About how we can do nice things for people & not need recognition.)
And that was really it.
I can tell she got it (in her own way) by how she’s behaved since that day. Ive watched her make time to say nice things to friends & strangers in a way she didn’t before.
I think I did ok as far as not giving her too much information that day and sparking the (some days inevitable) GreatMamaTuneOut.
Talk to me.
Did you have your own Operation Beautiful day? Got any stories to share?
Do you have your own Tornado(s)? Have you attempted to explain this concept to them yet?
Do you have any recollections of *similar* conversations/experiences with your parents when you were young? Got any tips to send my way?
Please to hit us all up in the comments.