I had a revelation this past week, y’all. One that it took me until this morning to realize, but a revelation nonetheless.
This weekend I made playdate plans with my friend The Brunette Foodie. These plans involved water. And swimsuits. And toddlers. Oh my.
Because I have a nervous child who takes a minute or 15 to warm up to new places/faces/anything, I knew there was no way I was getting out of this without being in the water with him.
It’s been 3 years since I bought a swimsuit. I put mine on this morning thinking “Man, I hate that this thing doesn’t support my boobs. I hope it doesn’t roll up and show my ugly stretch marks. My assets look huge in this and there are probably rolls around my thighs.”
Hate. Ugly. Huge.
But because I knew Joshua would need me today, I put the suit on and threw on a skirt and tank and off we went.
We got to the park and I was both nervous and excited that other moms were in swimsuits.
Nervous because women can be absolutely brutal to one another due to our own insecurities.
Excited because their being in swimsuits meant I wasn’t the only one there over the age of 10 in a swimsuit.
I got there and stripped off the skirt and tank in the quietest corner I could find. Trying to hide. Self-conscious.
I kept thinking about my flaws.
The last time I was in a water park I was 12. When I tap into that memory, I can still see the suit I was wearing. Navy. Macrame’ over spandex.
I can hear the friend I was with say “Let’s walk! Running makes us jiggle!”
I can still FEEL the way I felt that day.
Not thin enough.
Not pretty enough.
Open to criticism and scrutiny.
I’m a ridiculously open person in real life. I will discuss any number of potentially embarrassing things with you. I don’t save my oversharing for the anonymity of the internet.
But there is something about opening myself up to being physically critiqued that makes me want to throw on a muumuu and hide in a corner.
I felt that today.
And then I watched Joshua’s fear of the new melt a little bit. He reached for the water. After touching it with his toddler hands, he reached back for me immediately, looking to me for security.
And then he decided this was okay. This was good.
He got down and decided to stick his feet in the spray. To splash. To squeal with delight. To live.
I saw Joshua’s face and none of the rest of it mattered. I was a mom playing with her kid. I was doing some soul-filling.
We had fun today. We laughed today. We splashed. And when he slipped and fell he came to me to snuggle away the hurt. And I did.
In watching him watch me for his cues, in knowing that I am his comfort, in seeing my smile and laugh reflected in his, I found some beauty. Some inner-strength.
I found some peace and contentment with this body of mine. This body that made me a mom.
Y’all, this picture? Isn’t the picture of ugly. Or hate. Or huge.
This is a picture of happy.