Shaved, dreaded, loc'd, natural, relaxed, frizzy, curly, wet, long, short, 'fro, wavy, kinky, silky, fine.

I've studied my child like a piece of artwork since the first flutter of her existence. I can hear the instant she wakes up from across the house, the sudden breath that means, "game on." I decipher her budding language, know intimately the dirty and delightful habits of her day, and have born witness to the evolution from tadpole to child - limbs lengthening, eye color changing, teeth sprouting. 

In the first days and weeks, I would capture the image of this creature, marveling at myself about her mere existence, and looking for signs of myself in her features. I examined every inch of her looking forward to how she might grow into herself, and wondered how her appearance might reflect me. As she's developed, I see so much of myself in her expressions. I see my nose, that look I give with eyebrows up, my wide eyes. I have also been cut by strangers who ask if she is mine, and wounded to know that superficial details prevent our similarities in shining through. I have been told she'll darken. I have been called a babysitter. The wide spectrum of skin color across races has been questioned by passers-by, and I daily attempt to resist this desire to assert our bond, or to demand recognition, or to be seen in her face. 

My daughter is fair-skinned, yes. Her hair is fine, true. I release myself as this requires no explanation to strangers, no outside understanding, no clarification. I rejoice in our blends, as I, too, am a mixed-race child, and proud of the blended heritage. I hold hands with mother despite the stares and, once, the question of our "May-December romance." I see myself in my mother despite her blue eyes, her straight hair, her Norwegian ancestry, for they are in me, and represented in my child. 

Plus, my mother is a #goddess, who senses my needs from a thousand miles away. Today, she sent baby pictures and included the following comment: "These show the changes in your hair color and texture, from birth to age 6.5." 

I remarked that most often, when seeking to declare ourselves to others, to be seen by them as we imagine ourselves, we are momentarily lacking comfort and security within our own hearts. Scrolling through the images, I see my mother, and I am in awe of the countless directions in which my daughter's gorgeous looks may lead. I forgive myself for becoming bogged down, and know that even now I must model a continuous love of my body and hers. I am, after all, where she gets it from.