By Brenda-Fay Glik
“What’s your favorite body part?” I ask, delighting in the sway of her, sweet as sunrise. I expect the usual response of a female, even one only seven years old, who is under the spell of a culture preoccupied with appearances that appraises her body by its shape and beauty.
She thinks, then asks, “What’s your favorite part, Mommy?”
Unprepared, I peruse my body in my mind, of course drawn to the parts I most reject, especially my breasts. Too small, way too small. No matter how many times and ways I look in the mirror, they are never enough—and yet they nursed my precious babes for years. Who can explain such absurd disapproval?
I stop my mind’s eye from traveling down to my postpartum distended belly and turn to think of what I do like. My hair? Not lately. With a gasp, I break my trance of body dissection, wounded by the blade of self-judgment piercing such a golden temple. I turn to my only daughter, her innocence beaming the birth of a whole world as she waits for me to speak.
Finally, inside my own body, I find a lens polished as the sky. My answer snaps up like a window shade. “My hands are my favorite, because they hold your hand and braid your hair. They build and cook, write and dance. These hands lift you up and caress your face.”
“Wow!” she says, turning her hands with wonder. “Hands are great!”
“Your turn,” I say.
She smiles up at me with blueberry eyes, her face alive with decision. “My eyes are my favorite, Mommy, ’cause without my eyes, I couldn’t see you.”
Brenda-Fay Glik, EdD, LPC, is a poet, counselor, and mother of two. She is the author
of two books of poetry, Come With Me and Where the River Runs Wild.