Beautiful and Splendid

Posted | 29 comments

Beautiful and Splendid

A friend recently posted the following on Facebook, “My child just described his own butt as “beautiful” and “splendid.” Thinking about this little man and his apparently wonderful arse made me smile. I remember being little and in love with all that was me. My body was this amazing machine pulsing with energy and possibility.  I woke up every single day filled to the brim with enthusiasm for what I knew in my heart was going to be nothing short of a day filled with wonderment. Just like my friend’s little boy I was fully convinced that I too was indeed “beautiful” and “splendid.”

I was in constant awe at all the amazing things my body could do. Swing really, really high? Check. Jump off swing while swinging really, really high? Check. Put my whole face in the water of my little inflatable wading pool? Check. Climb on top of every counter in our house? Double check. I spent hours staring at myself in the mirror as I tried to ascertain the significance of the flecks of blue in my eyes and the freckles that covered my nose. I listened intently to the beating of my heart as it coordinated with the pulse on my wrist and the way my chest heaved with each deep breath.

I was in constant awe at the world around me. I remember the sticky sweetness on my fingers as I gently wiped the dew off the petunias in my mother’s flower bed, a fly floating in a cup of ice tea left outside, and the beauty of the frosty designs Jack left on our window panes. I spent hours trying to figure out how the miniature people got into our television each morning and crawled out again each night after their long day of acting for me had ended. I wanted to know where the sun went when it set and exactly how my father’s dog, Mike, got to heaven after being hit by a car and how the sound of the ocean could fit into a seashell.

I was at ease with the world. I had a lightness of being. I was centered and calm. I just loved and accepted love. Life was “beautiful” and “splendid” and so was everything and everyone and so was I.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped being this way. Along with it went the ability accept love and kindness. My wonderment, while never completely dimmed, waned. My life became one of problems to solve and burdens to bear. I packed that little girl up and tightly tucked her away. I no longer felt like she was safe in the world. And this little me, the me who lived to love and be loved, has been patiently waiting for the moment in time when it would be safe to come out again.

So, as I contemplate my friend’s son’s love of his glorious bottom, I know that this is how I want to feel. I want to look around me and once again be be blown away by how absolutely dumbfoundingly amazing this world we live in truly is. I want to delve deep into it’s mysteries and unlock its truths. I want to once again feel to the core of my being that I am “beautiful” and “splendid.”

Anything less, just won’t do.


  1. Beautiful post, Denise. I was riveted by your words and how beautifully you described what so many of us experience as we grow out of the innocence and wonder of childhood and s-l-o-w-l-y but surely take on the weight of the world. I have danced in these shadows and climbed out of more than one abyss and I am so glad to be loving my life with all of its bumps. And loops. And curls. Keep writing. I’m so glad I stumbled in. . .

    • I’m glad you stumbled in too and appreciate your comments. Thanks

  2. That is glorious! I reconnected with my true self a few years ago and the weight that has been lifted is awesome!

    • Emma – It really changes everything, doesn’t it?

  3. Oh you are beautiful and splendid!! And so is this article. What a delight to read. Thanks for writing these gorgeous words Denise.

  4. You are both of those and so much more!!!!

  5. A wonderful post!

  6. Wow what a beautiful and refreshing post. Thank you so much for it. I think kids really can often show us a great way in which to look at the world. I watch my daughter who is almost 2 as She discovers new things and it’s incredible!
    You are so right we need to bring more of this into our own life’s. I am going to set out to be amazed by something today!

  7. What a great article. I love the way you write Denise and more than that- your message is a reminder that I need to get back to this as well. Here’s to finding the “splendid” again. 🙂

  8. I love the memories of our sweet innocence. I remember races down our long driveway on warm summer nights as my parents sat in lawn chairs in front of our garage. I ran barefoot, and it seemed like I could run faster than the wind.
    Sadly, my love affair with me ended at age 12 when just shortly after moving to a new school district, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. No longer perfect {nevermind I began wearing glasses in the first grade}, no longer cool… I was now the new girl with the huge back brace.
    I want to steal back the innocence that was stolen from those carefree days.
    But it’s not everyone who knows the absolute magic of little kid buns {biscuits, we used to call them}. They really are quiet magical!

    • We can always fall in love with ourselves again. It’s not too late.

  9. OOhh!!! To feel beautiful & splendid, going through life with a child’s eyes would be such a gift to the world. Thank you for going there. I loved this reflection, and it made me start thinking about when I thought of myself as beautiful and splendid in the same breath~

  10. What you’ve described here is why I love hanging out with my four year old niece so much. She has this innocence and wonder at the world, the most amazing ability to find joy in the strangest of things and the wisdom to teach me all of this. Yesterday we made our own juice. Here am I juicing thinking wow this is so boring. Along comes my niece who was fascinated and loved it and took over the juicing! She spent the time singing skinny malinky long legs laughing hysterically at the word fart in it, playing hide and seek – or as it turns out – don’t hide very well and seek and chasing me as a pretend monster. I have never had so much fun in my life!! And to make it complete – she called me her “Auntie Superhero”. Now how can I fail to achieve what I want in life with a title like that?!
    Tabitha 🙂

    • How lucky you are to have a niece who can see your awesomeness. We are all Superheros. We just have to remember.

  11. So true. Love it! Somewhere along the way, while growing up, I think we all slowly lose or deter from our child-like state. We start to suppress our abilities and start doubting ourselves. We should really go back to our child-like, carefree, happy state! 🙂

  12. Curiosity and the ability to live in the moment—two traits that become so much harder as we turn into adults.

  13. Beautiful! I work with children every day, and their enthusiasm for life inspires me. They show so much wonder and awe at the tiniest things, and they’re full of fun and curiosity. It’s a shame that so many of us lose these qualities as we grow older, but there are ways to recapture them and fall in love with life all over again. Just look at life with different eyes. Imagine that every day is your first day on earth. Walk in nature, dance in your kitchen, eat cake for breakfast. Whatever floats your boat! 🙂

    • I taught for several years and what I loved the most about my job was the openness and curiostiy and delight that my students took in the world and in themselves. I miss them. Rebecca, I’m so glad you have the opportunity to experience that. You’re very lucky.

  14. so lovely! it is so bizarre that societies and civilization have built up in such a way as to take one from curious and full of play to full of fear. how did we come to tear ourselves down so completely and systematically? what a delight that you are out there staying committed to returning to yourself!

  15. Thank you for this beautiful post. You’ve reminded me of my own childhood and how I always used to be awed by myself. I wonder where those feelings went?

  16. Thank you for sharing this story and reminding us of the simple things in life that we unfortunately grow up and away from. It is hard today with society’s expectations of what we should be, where we should live, and what we should own, to even consider taking a smidgen of time and allowing ourselves a moment to feel carefree and curious like we were as children. It is almost as if it is taboo to enjoy ourselves and not take our responsibilities seriously, 24-7! Hiow dare we adults try to enjoy some silly, carefree fun! With that thought, I think I shall go take a walk in the park tomorrow and stare at the treetops and talk to the squirrels. I haven’t went over to talk to them in awhile. They may enjoy a silly conversation, from one nut to another 😉

    • Sounds like the perfect plan, Sheila.

  17. What a beautiful reminder to enjoy the simple (and beautiful) things in life. My daughter is 4 and through her I see the world in such a different way than in years’ past. We walk through parks and stop to look at flowers; we notice shapes of clouds; we wonder about characters in the books we read; and so much more that I’d probably miss if it weren’t for the magical curiosity of a 4-year old. Thanks for sharing your splendid thoughts.

    • How wonderful that you relish in your daughter’s curiosity. Hang on to it tight. They grow up fast.

  18. Denise, I’ve read your post three times now for the simple joy of feeling that “feeling” again. It made me smile every time. What a powerful reminder to “be at ease with the world,” and ourselves.

    The little girl in you has already come out to play… and she’s invited us to join her. Thank you.

  19. Oh yes, to be young again! To climb trees and eat ice-cream while chasing fireflies. I too want to occupy myself with such carefree abandon! Thanks for the great reminders that we don’t have to be small to do that!

  20. WonderFULL post, Denise! Love your memories from childhood… how exquisitely in the moment full lived they are! “I remember the sticky sweetness on my fingers as I gently wiped the dew off the petunias in my mother’s flower bed, a fly floating in a cup of ice tea left outside, and the beauty of the frosty designs Jack left on our window panes.” I remember! I remember! and in that moment, I delight in ME with you. Thank you!

  21. This is such a beautiful post. I instantly came to think of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Do schools kill creativity” where he argues that kids are educated out of creativity in our schools and not into it as we would like to think. How do we help our kids keep this innocent and exploring approach to life? As a mom of a 6-year-old girl, who just started school last year, this is something I ponder over a lot. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • I loved Ken’s talk and agreed with what he had to say. Please continue to ponder options for your daughter. She’ll thank you for it.


  1. Mini Flowergram and A Surprise Bouquet « a little lunch - [...]  Denise Ellis Stewart‘s posts leave me breathless… and wanting more.  Click here for one of my favorite posts – you’ll…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *