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I have beautiful kids and I’m not ashamed to say it. I am not truly a shallow person, but rather one with a low enough self-esteem that I take great joy in setting eyes on my beautiful babies, and apparently in judging other peoples’ children.
I sat outside the high school one day and watched the waves of unfortunate looking kids leaving. I wasn’t smug, I was actually fully conscious of my judgments on each child schlumping out of there and I was really sad.
Big heads paired with tiny feet and skinny legs. Kids with no fashion sense. Kids with large boils and birthmarks and moles planted in the middle of places they shouldn’t be. Snaggle-toothed smiling creatures.
A few too many kids who look like Sloth from The Goonies.
I mentioned it to my son and qualified my judgments with, “I know this is a really mean and awful thing to say, but the kids going to your school are just.. not… pretty.”
He agreed and it wasn’t from a shallow pocket either, it was from the same logic I was using. The pretty people go to the other high schools. His is a mecca for nerds and bullied and gay and unusual and homely children.
Alex said, “There are some good-looking kids here, but the rest have to go off great personalities.” And we agreed this was sad, but it’s a social truth. I praised him for always seeming to be drawn to great personalities above and beyond physical looks.
And speaking for the depth of character he has, he also pointed out, “The longer I go without a girlfriend, the more shallow I become.” Because right then he was not just looking for a great personality, he was also looking for attraction. I reminded him that he’s not being shallow, he’s being human. After all, most everyone MUST be physically attracted to their mate on some levels, not just emotionally or intellectually.
I don’t really know how to tie this into something funny, because it’s not. Those homely kids are probably talented, awesome kids, but they’ve been dealt a physical hand that’s just not fair. I identify with them, having my own obvious physical issues today in adulthood that leave me wide open to judgment.
And as a kid, I had what I called “tree trunk legs” and a not-so-nice guy pointed them out in 7th grade and called me “bell bottom” forever more. Funny thing is, he and I both had good-looking faces, by societal standards. And he had the tiniest chicken legs, but he chose to point out my legs, leaving me devastated for decades.
I don’t know what my point is in writing all of this out. Maybe it’s that life and people and children are blindly cruel, I guess.
I met one of my other teen’s history teachers at a school play. He asked me who I was there to see, I answered that Jack is my boy. He had a millisecond shock response, recovered quickly, and moved on to other chit-chat. Jack makes me look good. I hope I don’t make him look bad. But for sure, I’m not anything anyone would expect to see parenting these gorgeous kids.
I don’t know how to end this piece either. So, here’s something wonderful my youngest kid said instead:
“You are the opposite of the opposite of awesome!”
At least I think he was saying something good. I get confused when they talk sometimes.