It started when she was two. The oohs and aahs over anything girlie - jewelry, dress up clothes, play heels, crowns (the plasticy ones, of course), purses, make up, nail polish, etc. Five years later and this "phase" is still going strong. It has been quite fascinating to watch. After all, her mother likes those things too, but she is known to wear the same pair of earrings for days on end and only change nail polish when it is embarrassingly chipped and worn. Blame it on lack of time, money, energy or perhaps a little maturity, the days of those things being important have long passed. Or so I thought.
Tonight, my sweet Abigail is attending her first daddy/daughter dance. As you can imagine, it has been the topic of conversation this week. She is beyond excited. It's all she can think about and talk about. First thing this morning she asked if we could pick out her clothes, shoes and accessories. She even asked me to bathe her....bathe her?! Yes, you read that correctly! I haven't done that in well over a year now. I laughed when she first asked, but the look on her face made it evident that she was not kidding.
I put her off in getting dressed for tonight as long as possible. But at 2:15 P.M. she was running water for her bath. (At least she didn't ask me to do that.) After 15 minutes of playing she called me to come wash her. "Here we go again," I thought. "Who does she think she is? Queen Esther?" I could just picture as the servant girls helped prepare Esther for the king; adorning her with scented oils, dazzling jewels and fine clothing. I shared this thought with my husband over the phone and we had a good laugh. But over the course of the afternoon I have been pulled in to this world of beauty by my daughter. I painted her finger nails and toenails. I straightened her hair preparing it for the braids she requested. I flossed and brush her teeth. And I put lotion on her face just like she wanted. I told her how beautiful she was, but as I often do, I asked her what was the most beautiful thing about her. And with a smile, she replied, "My heart."
Yes, her heart. At times I worry that she cares so much about physical beauty. But to her it isn't just appearance. She finds puppies, butterflies and flowers beautiful. She likes it when her dad and I hug or kiss. She adores caterpillars and her fish. She enjoys drawing fancy letters and squiggly marks. And her heart is also tender. Several times this week she has felt sad for me and her aunts - sad that we never got to go to a daddy/daughter dance when we were little girls. And earlier today she was just beside herself that the water in her fish's tank needed to be cleaned because she was certain death was looming in the murky water.
Today I have been reminded of the deep desires that God has placed in the heart of a female - the yearning to feel beautiful, to be cherished, pursued, loved and protected. A heart filled with compassion, kindness, creativity and connectedness. Sometimes we think only of the masculine qualities of our heavenly father even though His word clearly tells us men and women were created in His image. His image - one that enjoys beauty, love, laughter, and joy. One that is easily found in my daughter on any given day.