by Tara Lazar
She leaned in close and touched up the lilac eyeshadow, swiped on berry rouge, and started unraveling chesnut-brown locks from sponge curlers that had been rolled in the night before. She marveled at how the lemon juice treatments on the beach this summer created silvery-blonde streaks, lovely highlights that were certain to earn additional points. Some teasing, a few spritzes of hairspray, Vaseline across the teeth, and then it was time to climb into the dress: a deep jewel-tone blue to match her eyes. She knelt down and spoke firmly, "Whatever you do, when they announce the winner, don't cry - don't cry if you win, don't cry if you lose - you'll smear your makeup. You're a big girl now, Hailey, let's act like one." When the new Little Miss North Carolina was crowned, six year-old Jenna Pierce from Winston-Salem, she did as she was told and did not cry, but her mother's tears were evident, reflecting the spotlights like rhinestones.
Tara Lazar, author of Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, doesn't need anyone to tell her that her daughters are beautiful. You can find her not-so-anonymously at Anonymom.