Symone announced her intent to go to the Vegas dance at the middle school. She worked on building the outfit for almost an hour. There were many consultations: dice cocktail dress, red or teal Converse, pearl choker or black hair bow, shorts or tights?
Once she got the outfit set she had about a half an hour until the dance. She came into the kitchen and said “Mark, get your camera, you’re going to take photos of me and I have a number of questions”
Dances often evoke a specific range of topics for Symone – I’d been caught flat footed in the past. As I grabbed my camera I limbered up to catch the fastballs that I knew were coming.
She posed and I directed. Three or four photos in she rolled out, “When you look at mom in that certain way that I see you looking at her, did you have to practice that or does it just come from within?”
I smiled as I looked at her through the viewfinder. I took more shots and said as I worked, “It comes from within honey. You can never contrive a truly felt feeling”
She struck a different pose and said, “Do you have to be beautiful to have someone look at you like that?”
I paused before I answered. Through my camera I was snapping stills of a girl trying out the woman she would become. She was amazing and beautiful and had noticed how her mom was being loved, regarded and admired. She was asking both the most complicated and simple question.
“Honey, everything seen through loves eyes is beautiful”
She made a face, “That’s not an answer!”
I grinned at her, reached over and hugged her and kissed her head, “Yes it is. You just don’t know yet how brave you have to be to let love in and let yourself be beautiful to someone else.”
She rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue and ran inside.
I stood in the backyard and took a minute to process. If I ever doubted that kids notice everything I had just received an amazing reminder.