I have never been totally happy with my body. Once I hit seventh grade, so did the hormones and things just have never been the same. At almost 31 years of age, my skin breaks out like a teenager’s. My once white blonde hair has darkened into a thick mass of mousy, dirty blonde frizz. My pigeon toed feet often bow to the cruel mistress of gravity, which usually leads to me sporting some interesting bruises. And like most people these days, my belly could do without 30-40 pounds of accumulated snicker bars, french fries and late night college pizza parties.
The last couple months though I can slowly feel my mindset changing. I’m embracing my body in ways I didn’t think I would ever be able to. There are 2 big reasons I can credit this change of heart to-
E and Little J don’t give a crap about what I look like. Every now and then E will ask about the big red “boo boo” on my face, and Little J delights in smacking around my spare tire(s) when I lay on the floor with him. But to them, I’m not a fat, klutzy, acne ridden ball of frizziness. I’m just mommy. I’m the bubble blower, the peanut butter sandwich chef, the chauffeur to the park, the story reader, a finder of lost treasures, and every now and then the time-out warden.
I was briefly reminded of my excessive curves the other week in the Kohl’s dressing room. I had been putting off getting a new swim suit for a few years. We rarely went swimming back in Pennsylvania. But with the beautiful California weather, we’ve started to frequent the beach and our apartment complex has a pool, so a swim suit is a must. So I sucked it up (and in) and crammed myself into a few selections.
Looking in the mirror was slightly depressing to say the least. Big arms, muffin top, jiggly thighs; all pasty white and covered in stretch marks. I was mentally vowing to spend the summer in my comfy t-shirts and capri pants when my tunnel vision faded and I saw what else was in the mirror. Two other faces were right there with me, giggling and making goofy faces as they experimented with the 3 way mirrors. That’s when I thought ‘What will we be doing in 10 years?’
In 10 years, E will be 15 (insert inconsolable mom sobbing here). She won’t be clinging to the side of the pool in her orange floaties, trying to splash me and wanting to push her little brother in his little blow up boat. I’ll probably be outside a very similar dressing room, trying my best to reassure her that she looks great in a swim suit and that it doesn’t matter that her chest is soooooo small/big, she’s beautiful no matter what (just make sure everything is properly covered for your father’s peace of mind). I won’t be lumbering to the pool overloaded with her toys, towels, snacks, and sunglasses. I’ll be nagging her to remember sunscreen, as she rushes off to meet her friends.
In 10 years, Little J will be 11 (gonna need another box of tissues here). He’s not going to hug me tight as we dance around in the water, or be able to be put in a floating bubble. He’s going to be doing canon balls off a high dive and nearly give me a heart attack when he experiments with how long he can hold his breath in the deep end. He’s not going to watch his sister’s every move and laugh his head off at her fountain impressions. Girls will be declared “icky” as he and his buddies engage in endless dunking contests.
“Hey baby, what do you think of this one?”
E breaks away from the mirror for a second and nods. “I like it.”
“Yeah? I do too.”
I will not be ashamed of my body. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the only one my children know, inside and out. I will happily don my swim suit to splash, laugh, and enjoy the these once in a lifetime chances, with the greatest creations ever. In 10 years I will probably add wrinkles, grey hair, and onset arthritis to my list of complaints, but not regrets.