While bathing my daughter a few weeks ago I noticed she had a huge bug bite on the side of her leg. It must have been itchy so she scratched it making the wound red and inflamed. While drying her I noticed the tiny scar on the right side of her nose from where she fell on the brick walkway in my parents front yard. I was suddenly saddened by these giant imperfections on my little girl’s perfect little body. Gone were the days, in her not so distant infant-hood, when she had perfect skin that was free from bug bites, scratches and flaws of any kind.
Now that my infant with the flawless skin has grown into a toddler, she is constantly on the go and her little knees are often adorned with scrapes and bruises from falling down or running too fast while playing. And my little one is beginning to notice small imperfections all around her and she is pointing them out to me. Yesterday she discovered a small freckle on her arm and tried to pick it up. The other day she spotted a pimple on my chin. She pointed at it and in a concerned voice said, “Oh no!” She gently touched my face and I assured her I was ok and that my chin would heal. Everyone gets “ouchies” and it is ok. It is part of life.
As I reflect on these childhood imperfections I realize they are actually small reminders of a life well lived. Some of them will fade over time, while others will leave scars behind, but all are reminets of childhood. A childhood filled with fun exploration and new discovery. A childhood I hope my daughter will grow up and look back on with happy memories of playing outside and spending time with family and friends. I realize I could have held her hand on every outside adventure, assuring she wouldn’t fall and shielding her from ever getting hurt. I could have kept my daughter in a bubble but instead I gave her the freedom to explore the world around her.
So instead of grimacing when I notice the small scars and scrapes I will be reminded of the fun she had in getting those imperfections. I will never forget the huge smile she had on her face the day she got the scar by her nose. She had just discovered the birdhouse in Nana and Pops front yard and was giggling and grinning from ear to ear.
She probably got the bug bite when she was splashing outside in her water table or when she spied the neighbors’ playground set and excitedly ran into their yard so she could be pushed on the baby swing.
Although I will do everything in my power to protect my daughter from harm, I know that she is growing and as she grows it will become more and more difficult to shield her from all of the uncomfortable inconviences in life. (especially acne and bug bites) She is no longer the helpless infant, with the perfect skin, who used to sleep in my arms and depend on me for everything. She is now an active toddler with imperfections, a strong will and a mind of her own. She will always be my baby and I will love her with all of her imperfections because to me she is perfect, perfect in every way!