Oh my darling boy.
These days, when you catch your own face in the mirror, you could not be more thrilled. Lately, you've even begun crawling right up to the mirror and putting your face so close to it that your forehead meets its reflection. You stare into your own eyes trying to figure out exactly who this beautiful boy must be.
The Beatles sang, "I've just seen a face, I can't forget the time or place where we've just met," and you have this same enthusiasm when you see yourself. Every time is like the first time. It never gets old.
I hope you never lose this way of looking at yourself, of seeing who you are. When you stand in front of yourself, I want you to be unable to control that sweet grin. And I always want you to be honest with yourself whenever your forehead meets the mirror.
Sometimes, Jude, when people look in the mirror (your Momma included) we make a list of all the things that have gone wrong. The skin around our eyes has begun to wrinkle; those hips have grown too wide; our tummies have developed a pillow-top; will these breasts ever face anywhere other than down? Then there is the critical gaze turned inward. Why can't I be the best version of myself? Why can't I get it right? How many times am
I going to mess up? How could anyone love me?
This grown-up mirror is a lie, baby. It is warped by our insecurities and our worries and our inability to love ourselves with grace. For some reason, most of us are better at extending that to others than to ourselves. This dishonest mirror has too much power. We have given it the ability to determine what is of worth, when the valuable things here can rarely be seen with our eyes.
We forget that YOUR mirror is the truth. The one that you greet with an open-mouthed wonder at what you see. Every centimeter of you is exactly as it should be, from the adorable shape of your nostrils to the gentle curve of your tiny bow-legs.
I want to teach you how to love this amazing body your soul is housed in. I want to show you how to delight in the way your body moves through time and space like no one else's. I want you to understand how precious it is and how you can use it to let others know they are precious, too. Most of all, I want you to realize that it's not good for anything unless it's used to express love, kindness, mercy, and gentleness.
Our society spends all its time shouting about how the mirror doesn't matter, but everyone goes home and sits in front of it and rips holes in their self-worth because of what they see there.
There is a time and place for honest self-criticism. That time and place is never in front of a mirror. It is a quiet time, so you can hear your heart's deepest wishes and determine which are right and good. It is a dark place, so you can see the embers of important hopes or dreams that need to be kindled, and the glowing ashes of bitterness or hate that need to be put out.
I want your looking glass to remain just that: a glass you look into for a few seconds each day to remember how gorgeous you are. A cool place you can rest your forehead against, stare into your eyes, and remember who you are.
You are Jude. You are loved. You are my son. And you are so much more than what you see.
All my lovin,