Teaching Beauty

At one point during the Christmas weekend, my mom, my aunt and I were all in my bedroom. My Aunt Karen was borrowing a shirt so David could do a little work on her back and my mom tagged along.

My mom sat down on my side of the bed and commented on the amazing view. I told her to lie down so she could see the sky the way I do when I wake up in the morning. When it’s *ahem* not pitch dark out, that is. I know, I know – the light is coming back around.

Karen pulled off her shirt, took the one I gave her and said how much she hates the moles on her back. She turned around to show us, and there they were, large flat moles all over her back.

“Just like Grandmother’s!” I exclaimed.

Karen nodded. Yes, she’d gotten her mother’s moles, turning up later in life. My mom said she didn’t remember their mother having moles. Oh yes, I remembered, Grandmother would take a bath every evening before bed and, if I was spending the night, I would keep her company and wash her back for her. The moles made me think of a Dalmation’s coat, beautiful, unique and special. Only seeing Karen’s moles did I remember that sense of delight and admiration. On some level, I always thought I’d have them, too. That when I grew up to be a lady like Grandmother, I would gain Dalmation polka dots to grace my own skin.

It’s funny how time changes things. How I’ve since learned it’s not something to admire. How Karen wishes she didn’t have them.

So much of what we think of as beautiful is taught. Carefully, carefully taught.