appearance

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This past Saturday afternoon, my 10 year-old daughter was stung by a bee in the corner of her left eye, a few centimeters below her tear duct. Fortunately, she didn’t have any dangerous allergic reactions to the sting, but it hurt her quite a bit. Within 12 hours, the entire left side of her face had swollen to the point that she was almost unrecognizable. The swelling has gradually gone down, although it was still noticeable as of this morning.

Although she has been uncomfortable over the last 4 days, my daughter has been remarkably graceful in dealing with her altered appearance. I realize that I am far from unbiased, but I have been so impressed with her character. I keep thinking back to my 10 year-old self and know that I would have been mortified to let anyone see me with something wrong with my face*.

In fact, when I was 10 years old, I was in the dressing room getting ready to perform in a school production of “Our Town,” when I noticed that I had broken out into hives all over my face and neck. I have strong memories of hiding in the bathroom as I applied layer upon layer of foundation over the hives in a desperate attempt to cover them up. When I emerged from the bathroom, my humiliation was compounded as several people asked me why I had so much make-up on my face and all over my costume. Ick. I can still feel the hot embarrassment coursing through my entire body.

How is it that my daughter still enjoyed getting dressed up and walking around at the 4th of July picnic? Where did she find the nerve to email her friends a picture of her swollen face? Why didn’t she beg me to let her stay home this morning rather than excitedly head off to her first day of dance camp?? The obvious answer is that she is confident that she will be loved and accepted despite her altered appearance.

I am inspired and humbled.

*Frankly, I doubt my 40 year-old self would feel any more comfortable.
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