The beginning of beauty

Amanda from Belgium

He speaks beautifully in Netherlands and seamlessly crosses over to Farsi (Persian). The Iranian surgeon’s work is to restore broken lips and palates. Here, but also in Iran. Often he does this work for free in Iran, when the parents don’t have money. With the greatest commitment he works on every little mouth and palate as if it was his own child. And does he see these ‘ugly’ mouth-and-palate little mishaps of nature? His answer? A definite no, because the majority of them has the most beautiful eyes, so that one gets lost in those beautiful eyes and you don’t see the broken little lips. And that is so.

Her eyes are like dark chocolate set in a head a little bit bigger than at her birth. (This is our Dolly child.) The mop of dark hair are usually jagged, because when it comes to brushing hair and cutting hair, the world is turned on its head. A ponytail is a quick solution or an alice band on the days that Dad has to look after her.  And everywhere that there should be hair, there is a lot. Luckily brother Handsome got the not-so-much-hair gene.

The smiling mouth is always wet and the teeth would have performed better with braces. The big gap in front divides them to the left and the right, and for the rest they bunch up to stand together. They are not white because polishing teeth end in lips that are pursed to a thin white line with toothpaste everywhere except behind that line.

When a cold arrives the tongue hovers in the one nostril, and I walk with shiny chevrons on my sleeve where she wipes her nose.

Cutting nails ends in scuffed knuckles to get rid of the irritability and remain long and dirty until I summon the strength to try again.

The little hunchback makes her look old. But the stomach is the one thing that any glamour magazine girl will desire – firm, flat and toned, because since she was a baby, she always jumped up straight like a pocket knife in bed.

How can I tell this girl of ours that she is beautiful when the world looks and says differently? Where being ill to be thin is still normal, computer programmes filter and create flawless images and implants and injections make desirably round, while the majority of girls get spots of shame.

Our Dolly girl does not know how to be quiet – everything she does is without abandon: she laughs out loud, cries out loud, protests out loud and to Handsome’s great entertainment, ‘burps’ out loud and on his request as well. She does not use pretty words that people are in awe about. Her handful of sounds are used often and ignoring her does not work, because she stands her ground and the hands join the sounds. And it is very loud, so much so that our demure culture will always turn around and the children will stare. They stare openly, not because of her prettiness, but because she is different.

Even though something went wrong in the Studio, she remains one of a kind, unique. We love the odd little figure with the warm heart for everyone, her extravagant humour and vulnerable innocence. She takes her place in all simplicity and she lives with heart and soul. She is so beautiful! Our hearts saw first, and then the eyes followed, just like at the Iranian surgeon. He also sees with his heart. Love makes beauty. Hubby says she is beautiful and therefore they have no choice but to stare!

Beauty does not begin with the spoken or published word or with a front page picture. Beauty begins before birth, in a heart.

Originally published in My Child and I, Winter 2020


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