Time for the second letter of the English Alphabet. In your book, La Niña, B is for butterfly. In mine, B is for Beauty. Let's clarify the definition of beauty for you right now because it's going to be weighing heavily on your minds, even preying on you, less than a decade from now.
As you grow older, you'll get the impression that being good looking is everything. This applies more to you, La Niña, although in recent times, society has also upped the pressure on men, under the guise of calling them metrosexuals, so you had better pay attention too, El Niño.
This isn't about whether your body is toned, or your eyebrows are tweaked or your arms are waxed. This is about your idea of what constitutes beautiful. True beauty is more than pretty or handsome. Pretty and handsome will pass away, but Beauty remains. My grandmother's face was a mass of wrinkles, and yet she was one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Her face spoke of a hard life lived bravely. Of being widowed at 25 with five little children, the youngest, your grandma, less than a year old. Of raising them on her own, working hard in the fields, skimping and saving. Of laughter, worry, fear, despair, loneliness, sorrow, all etching furrows in the once-pretty face.
Hers is just one of many faces, belonging to people I have been privileged to know, that remind me that good looks are fleeting. The black hair gives way to greys, the blotches on the face don't go away. The texture of the skin looks like something that someone left too long in the sun.
Make no mistake. The face you have at 16 and possibly for a decade and more after that is the face that is yours through some sort of a cosmic lottery and, of course, good genes help. But the face you'll have for the greatest part of your life is the one that you deserve.
The ads will spin another yarn. They will tell you that it is possible to become more beautiful, get fairer, younger looking skin out of a bottle or a plastic tube. There is an ad on TV that says I will be spared the seven signs of aging if I use their cream. Don't ever believe such drivel.
Double chin, buck teeth, squint eye, pimples, no bar. They are all irrelevant to true beauty. If there is sunshine, truth and joy in your heart and soul, you are beautiful. If there is garbage in your heart and soul, it will show up on your face, even if you spend a fortune on cleaning up the mess and removing the stink. Sooner or later, our faces turn into our autobiographies.
My wish for the two of you is that you may never see yourself as ugly or dismiss another as so. That you may never let the finery of what is after all only the shop window determine the intrinsic worth of a person.
That's it for today. C you tomorrow. :)
PS In your Mamma's astute eyes, you'll always be beautiful.