Today was the first time Delaney noticed the birthmark on her face. We were playing at a friend’s house, and after washing her hands in front of a mirror, Delaney examined her face. She pointed it out to me and asked what it was. “It’s a kissmark,” I immediately replied — spontaneously giving it a personal label that fits with the philosophy of our family.

Delaney Renee, December 2012
Dell points out the kissmark on the side of her mouth.

It’s true that Dell’s mark is a kissmark. It’s attached to her chubby cheeks in such close proximity to her mouth and neck and is the perfect target for my lips. I’m frequently overwhelmed with Delaney’s cuteness and want to shower her with kisses. Now I have a great excuse, and I can request Dell’s permission to kiss her kissmark.

Delaney pretending to sleep, December 2012
As part of her game on the playground, Delaney pretends to sleep until the rooster crows. I am enjoying her at this age so much where she's still so cuddly and yet can enter into more sophisticated conversations.

I still remember the moment I first noticed Dell’s kissmark. We were still living in our house, Dell was several weeks old, and I became distressed because I thought it was a bruise. Upon closer examination, I saw it was just a pigmentation of the skin. The kissmark is evident in early photos of Delaney.

Dell’s kissmark raises issues for me. Facial pigmentation like this reminds me of how I was teased about my freckles. My freckles set me apart from my mono-complexioned peers at school, and in school that’s not a good thing. Now I don’t worry about our girls’ attraction to freckles — we’re surrounded by a nation of healthy, freckly faces — but Dell’s kissmark is something different.

I’d love Delaney to own her kissmark as the mark of a princess, a brand that may set her apart from her peers, but in a good way. I believe that in reinforcing Dell’s unique beauty at this young age, starting with calling her birthmark a “kissmark”, I’ll be giving her a foundation for understanding her value comes from within and not from outside herself.

And I’m going to keep kissing Dell’s kissmark. I can’t resist it anyhow. And one day it’ll be just as irresistible to her partner as it is to me.