The Wookiee

I smooth her eyebrows, shape them
into perfectly groomed, acceptable accent marks
over her big, flashing brown eyes.

I obsess over each unruly hair,
noting when yet another one sprouts
unwelcome on her smooth pale skin.

I squeeze my fingers like tweezers
as my mind imagines the feeling
of plucking away each stray hair.

I call her Wookiee and suggest
Wouldn't you like a little trim?
while stroking her brows and smiling.

But she? Accepts me completely, eyes
on me for guidance and understanding
each second of her young life.

She relies on me for strength,
for believing in her own worth,
for valuing herself as always enough.

And yet, here I am, picking
at her and pushing her into
someone else's ideal of female beauty.

The seconds are quickly ticking away
and I'm filling them with baggage
she'll carry always (as I do).

As a woman, as a mother,
how dare I pass onto her
such a damaging, shaming, harmful legacy?

I put away the tweezers, scissors,
thoughts of beauty and superficial modification,
my issues and baggage and "training."

My job is to love and nurture,
not pick apart and break down.
I am always learning, every second.

***This post is part of Six-Word Fridays and Non-Judgmental Parenting (and is the result of my Mountain Man making me really examine the things I say and example I set for our daughter.)***


  • Shell

    Not pick apart and break down- fabulous line!

  • Cheri

    Your little Wookie is beautiful just the way she is! And so are you!

  • Amber

    This is so true, Kelly, when we are teaching our children about the value of looks. Does perfection in appearance mean happiness? No. But being a good person inside, that is more beautiful than anything. You are such a fabulous mom.

  • Emily


  • { L }

    You always make me dig deeper....and think. You possess much wisdom.

  • Leslie @ five to nine

    "Eyes on me."
    They are, always. Eyes and ears, all eager and excited.
    Jack hangs his head and remarks that he "can't do [insert skill/sport/talent here] very well." And he isn't quite three. I really don't know where it comes from, but it makes me want to stop tweezing away our confidence.

  • melissa

    I obsess over "baggage" I bestow.
    And yet... I can't avoid it.
    Cutting back seems a worthy goal.
    A baggage elimination diet? I'll try.

  • TKW

    This is so amazingly awesome. The Wookie can come hang at our house. We have a mustache problem. I'm constantly stepping away from the wax.

  • Justine

    Yes, Kelly, yes - it's not just the sins of our fathers we have to worry about. Mothers definitely tend to repeat their own cycles with their children too. Kudos to you for realizing the difference between you and your daughter, and your effort to break that cycle yourself. It's not easy to recognize that line that separates us, and to teach them what we found difficult to learn ourselves.

  • Kelly

    @Leslie - It does make you wonder where the pressure starts. Is a child's ambition something internal, or is it a message you don't know you're sending? We're dealing with this now, too.

    @Melissa - It is really hard. Just when I think I've left the suitcases behind, they sneak up on me.

  • Hyacynth

    Yes!! I love the way you worded this, and it resonates with me so.
    I even do this with my boys (groan). I often catch myself and I cannot believe that I'm pushing my views of fashion and such on them -- they are THREE AND ONE! Who cares if G wears his pirate costume every.single.day. I'd rather him live out his creativity than wear his collar shirts and in-style shorts.

  • Anonymous

    "...for valuing herself as always enough." Yes! I hope to teach my daughter the same.

  • ayala

    Kelly, I love this. "my job is to love and nurture, not pick apart and break down." I think we learn and grow as we go through all these stages. "I am always learning ,every second." Beautiful !

  • The Drama Mama

    I love the way you ended this. It is true that we do have to be careful lest we stick our baggage on our children.

  • Sofia's Ideas

    Kelly! I LOVE this!!! Such an honest personal poem... well done! :)

    In our family, its my MIL that interacts with our daughters this way. It drives me insane to no end but I just dont know how else to get through to her. We just have such different points of view but I hate that we try so hard to build their self-esteem and with one comment, she seems to be able to instill doubt in them. Then when she leaves, it is up to me to undo the damage. UGH!

  • Anonymous

    Oh Kelly, how profound and beautiful. And important as well. I'm not sure it is possible for us to avoid it, but as we've "discussed" through our blogs before, I think it makes a difference that we are willing to try.

    I felt this whole poem, inside and out. Well done!

  • Stacia

    There's always more to learn. That's the scariest and best part of this mothering job, isn't it??

  • Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri

    This is lovely Kelly. But your so aware and that is most of the difference. There isn't really a guide to this motherhood thing. I think we are all learning. One step at a time.

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