She got it from her mama

Karima Lanfanco

Since the day she was born, I’ve spent countless hours staring at my baby girl. Sometimes it was in the moonlight of a midnight feeding, other times in the bright daylight of a midday stroll. In these quiet moments, I memorized her face: the cowlick at the start of her hairline, the pencil-thin lines of her lashes, the perfect curves of her little mouth. And because babies change so constantly and quickly, every few days, I’d sit and stare and memorize her face all over again.

As a newborn, she looked more like my husband, but now that she’s six months old, I’ve started seeing facets of her that seem strikingly familiar, ones that I’ve seen in the mirror. Naturally, I panicked.

I spent a good chunk of my adolescence and young-adulthood hating so many things about myself: my big forehead (which my brother affectionately calls a five-head), my too-straight eyelashes (that don’t curl even with the wildest makeup tricks), the dent on the tip of my nose (an amalgamation created from my parents’ noses).

And now, I felt terrified that my daughter would also spend hours in the mirror hating these same features. Mom guilt set in on a whole ’nother level. “She looks that way because of me. I’ve ruined her,” I thought.

And then, like a flash, I was caught up in her face again. Her forehead isn’t too big at all, her eyelashes are envious, and her gummy smile is disarming and contagious. I started accepting that, yes, she does look like me, and yes, she is gorgeous. She’s perfect. And she’s beautiful.

This has changed my entire outlook on myself. As she gets older, I see more of myself in her. And I love it. Not only has becoming her mother increased the love in my heart that I now have for her, it has also opened up the love I have for myself.

So, thank you, little one — for unknowingly being such an inspiration.

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