I have four beautiful daughters. They all have things that make them unique. I know — that’s every family. But we have something that really is unique — something different. My youngest has a birthmark. At first glance, it’s a puzzle piece on her face that looks like it’s from a different puzzle. As soon as you get to know her, it becomes such a part of who she is that the lines of the puzzle pieces fit together seamlessly and fades into a part of her personality. The more you know her (and love her) the more her birthmark fades until it isn’t even visible as something different.
Here’s a little secret that sometimes I don’t even believe myself:
She likes her birthmark. She even treasures it.
Most people don’t believe me when I tell them the secret. Maybe I’m deluding myself and don’t see reality. It’s just so contrary to the world we live in. People question me about removing it and I’ve even been accused of not doing the best for my daughter because we haven’t “taken care of it.” I know they mean well, but they aren’t the ones who know her. Sometimes I watch her primp in the mirror. She angles her chin a little to the side to check out her birthmark. Touching it gently, she smiles. That loving gesture speaks louder than words. Yes, she loves her birthmark. It’s as much a part of her as her fingers and toes.
This profound acceptance of her birthmark is probably our fault because of how we’ve raised her. I’ll proudly take the blame for that one. I know one day her thinking might change. I can’t begin to count how many people have assured me it will. They say one day she’ll come to us and tell us how much she hates it. It might happen that way. But I will not speak that unacceptance over her. If she comes to me one day thinking differently than she does now, we’ll tackle it them, with open arms and loving hearts. But for now, I know that we’ve raised her with the knowledge of how much God loves her, and each one of us. We all have something different and it makes us unique and that much more special! God puts our puzzle pieces together and although the world might think the pieces don’t fit or belong to a different puzzle, each puzzle is complete just the way it is.
Yet, there’s something she doesn’t like:
How people respond to her birthmark.
People are uncomfortable around different. Kids can even be afraid. They think it is painful or might be contagious. Most of all they are curious. I’m ok with curious. I learned just how curious I can be! (That’s another post in the works! Stay tuned!) Beyond the comments of the curious, I’m not ok. I get angry. I get tired of the questions. I don’t want to explain why we haven’t “taken care of it.” If you are still asking that question, then you didn’t HEAR anything I’ve said. Yet, many people don’t listen. The puzzle piece of her birthmark makes people uncomfortable.
I will not take away my daughter’s treasure because other people are uncomfortable.
Yet I am not a perfect parent. I make mistakes. I made one last week when she came home from camp. I’ll tell you ALLLLL about it – next week.
Building bridges with people requires you to look past what makes you uncomfortable.