One day, my daughter will read this post, and be mortified. She will dislike me intensley for a period of time that will probably be too long for me to handle. How sorry I will be remains to be seen. With that said, I as the author and you as the reader, must soldier on together...
We live in a time and a society where looks matter. Or so some say. Where young girls are inundated through television, magazines, and the internet, with unrealistic images of what beautiful looks like. Where eating disorders are a growing concern among adolescents and teens, the business of dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry, and Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, despite their moral and intellectual failings, are in some circles, role models.
It's enough to make a parent try with every fiber of their being to shield their children from these images and idiots.
Then, you have Penelope, who, in my eyes and hers, is already a supermodel. A role model. An inspiration for girls of all ages.
She has a belly that would make Dan Connor (John Goodman's character on Roseanne) blush, and she could care less. She is actually proud of it. Wears it like a badge of honor. Unlike Santa, it doesn't shake when she laughs like a bowl full of jelly. It's solid and sporty. Like she swallowed a medicine ball. It steadies her. Sometimes acting like a third leg, helping her to balance. At others, serving as a third arm, helping her to grab things.
She pats it when she's satisfied, not with a meal, but with herself. We even have a name for it: her "Penelly belly."
Her stomach protrudes with pride, and she doesn't even think twice about it. It defines her as much as any of her other amazing attributes. As much as her smile, her eyes, her laugh. Her belly. It has become a crucial part of her personality. Defining it in a way. Carefree and lovable, entertaining and squeezable.
Oh if only little girls didn't ever stop not caring about the size of their bellies. It is a wonder to see a little lady who doesn't think twice about her appearance. She knows she's beautiful, no matter what anyone else thinks. And that's all that matters.