Seasons of Beauty

To prepare a slide show for Mom and Dad's grand golden anniversary bash, I spent the last week thumbing through countless photo albums. Two thoughts emerged as I considered younger versions of myself. First, we wore the waistlines of our pants WAY too high. I may have been thinner then, but I'm definitely more hip now.

Second, I was actually sort of cute in middle school and high school. I wasn't Vogue material, by any means, but I was nowhere near as repulsive as I estimated. This self-assessment probably came about because I secretly compared myself with cover icons (even though publicly I scorned them), and because I was the only dark-skinned girl in my school.

Sigh. All that wasted time lamenting my lacks and excesses. Now I know the truth: teen girls are stunning, every single one of them, any shape, size, or shade. The beauty of youth is as striking as the snowdrops bringing color to a black and white world. When I visit schools and survey the upturned faces, I feel the same awe I do in the springtime. You, my friends, I want to say, are gorgeous. Despite, or perhaps thanks to, your varied lacks and excesses.

And my Mom! Wow! She was always stylish and graceful, her beauty mellowing and deepening into the autumn of her life, resplendent in a multi-colored foliage of sarees. She'll still shimmer in silk at their party, sparkling like a jewel in Dad's eyes. And mine.