She Was Beautiful


…. but she didn’t know what that meant. 

When she was a little girl 

    they told her she was beautiful 

but it had no meaning

  in her world of bicycles

        and pigtails

and adventures in make-believe. 

Later, she hoped she was beautiful 

   as boys started taking notice 

of her friends

  and phones rang for

              Saturday night dates.

She felt beautiful on her wedding day,

     hopeful with her

   new life partner by her side 

but, later, 

    when her children called 

          her beautiful,

she was often exhausted, 

     her hair messily tied back,

no make up,

    wide in the waist

        where it used to be narrow;

she just couldn’t take it in.

Over the years, as she tried,

    in fits and starts,

       to look beautiful, 

   she found other things 

to take priority, 

    like bills

         and meals,

  as she and her life partner 

            worked hard

                  to make a family,

    to make ends meet,

        to make children into adults,

            to make a life.


    she sat. Alone.

Her children grown, 

     her partner flown,

and she couldn’t remember 

    the last time

       she was called beautiful. 

But she was.

It was in every line on her face,

   in the strength of her arthritic hands,

 the ampleness that had

      a million hugs imprinted

         on its very skin,

  and in the jiggly thighs and

                 thickened ankles

        that had run her race for her.

She had lived her life with a loving

   and generous heart, 

         had wrapped her arms

      around so many to 

            to give them comfort and peace.

  Her ears had 

             heard both terrible news

      and lovely songs,

and her eyes

      had brimmed with,

  oh, so many tears,

       they were now bright

           even as they dimmed.

She had lived and she was.

   And because she was, 

        she was made beautiful. 

~ Suzanne Reynolds, © 2019

Photo credit: Nina Djerff

Model: Marit Rannveig Haslestad


Suzanne Reynolds

Author: Suzanne Reynolds, © 2019