She was beautiful …


…. but she didn’t know what that meant.

When she was a little girl
    they told her she was beautiful
but it had no meaning
  in her world of bicycles
      and pigtails
and adventures in make-believe.

Later, she hoped she was beautiful
  as boys started taking notice
of her friends
  and phones rang for
             Saturday night dates.

She felt beautiful on her wedding day,
   hopeful with her
  new life partner by her side
but, later,
  when her children called
      her beautiful,
she was often exhausted,
   her hair messily tied back,
no make up,
   wide in the waist
      where it used to be narrow;
she just couldn’t take it in.

Over the years, as she tried,
    in fits and starts,
       to look beautiful,
    she found other things
to take priority,
  like bills
        and meals,
as she and her life partner
        worked hard
              to make a family,
to make ends meet,
  to make children into adults,
     to make a life.

  she sat.
Her children grown,
    her partner flown,
and she couldn’t remember
    the last time
       she was called beautiful.

But she was.

It was in every line on her face.
    in the strength of her arthritic hands,
the ampleness that had
      a million hugs imprinted
        on its very skin,
and in the jiggly thighs and
              thickened ankles
    that had run her race for her.

She had lived her life with a loving
   and generous heart,
        had wrapped her arms
     around so many to
           to give them comfort and peace.
Her ears had
          heard both terrible news
    and lovely songs,
and her eyes
    had brimmed with,
 oh, so many tears,
    they were now bright
          even as they dimmed.

She had lived and she was.
    And because she was,
        she was made beautiful.

– Suzanne Reynolds, © 2019

Photo credit: Nina Djerff
Model: Marit Rannveig Haslestad

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