Originally published in 2012
To the little girl in the mirror:
In the beginning, I held you in my arms and we would make funny faces in the reflective glass until our bellies hurt from laughing so hard. Now a chair does the job my arms once did.
For almost five years, I brush my teeth and you are there, tilting your head to the side as you brush the back molars. Just like I do.
For almost five years when I blow dry my hair, you grab a brush and make “whooshing” noises to imitate what I do. You even flip your hair upside down and side to side. Just like I do.
For almost five years, when I curl my hair, you grab a comb and wrap it around your own locks several times until, eventually, it gets stuck and I have to rescue you. You even cross your ankles when you do your hair, just like I do.
For almost five years, when I do my makeup, you grab a brush and start applying the invisible powder to your own flawless face. You say things like, “I like getting pretty.” To which I quickly respond, “We can’t make ourselves pretty with makeup. Our insides make us pretty.” And you, little girl, are so pretty. Just like I strive to be.
This morning, you followed me in to do our normal routine and I offered you the chair to stand on. You refused it, saying, “I don’t need that anymore, Mommy. I’m big now.” I looked in the mirror and saw what once was the face of a tiny baby is now the face of a kind, compassionate, impressionable young lady. And you no longer need a chair to see your reflection. We stand side by side, look at ourselves in the mirror, and do the same things together that we’ve done for the past five years.
I know you can see me — not just in the mirror, but in the things I do every day. The way I talk to you and to others when I’m unhappy. The way I act when things aren’t going my way. The way I get angry with myself when I make a mistake or make bad choices. You see it all.
Sweet little girl, as of today your eyes peek above the bathroom counter without any assistance needed, but tomorrow we will stand shoulder to shoulder, looking at the new faces time has given us. Reflecting on the reflections we’ve been studying for years.
I know our time together is finite and we cannot count how many days we will have together. But, for today, I will look at the little girl in the mirror and thank God for this special time we get together every day. You desire to do what I do, little girl. May my true reflection be something worth imitating.
I love you, Ellie.