So, my son's girlfriend accidently shrunk my bathing suit in the dryer last week. My silent rejoicing at the fact that I wouldn't ever have to squeeze into another one was quickly extinguished when my daughter exclaimed, "We'll have to go get you a new one!" To add to the pressure, I then received an email from Abby, the girlfriend, with a link to Lands End and a note apologizing and saying that she wanted me to pick out a new suit, which she would pay for. Now, even though she shrunk it, number one: it was an accident, and number two: she works for minimum wage at Starbucks and is still paying off the car she totalled a few months ago. No way was I going to let her buy me a $60 swimsuit. (And no way was I going to let her, a size 0, order me a size 12.)
Now, you probably wonder why anyone in Seattle even NEEDS a bathing suit if they're not taking water aerobics or swimming laps in an indoor pool. If anyone ever does venture into a lake, it's only around Labor Day after we've had some warm temperatures for a few weeks. Even then, it's bone-chilling. The only reason I need a bathing suit is because my daughter and I travel occasionally for her Irish dance competitions and she has managed to cajole me into the pool with her when we stay at a hotel. She's been the one to convince me that no one else really cares what I look like and it's ridiculous for me to be so obsessed about it. And I've discovered that it wouldn't matter anyway, because we're usually the only ones in the pool and hot tub. I finally figured out that if my slender, beautiful, little daughter isn't embarrassed by me, then I shouldn't be embarrassed by me, either.
So, today we set off for Penney's with a photo of the perfect suit ripped from an ad and a $10 coupon. She, of course, got sidetracked in the clearance racks, then the dresses, then the shoes, and I was beginning to think she had forgotten all about our original mission, but no such luck. "We have to find your bathing suit!" she said. "I think they sold them all." I said. Nope, there they were - racks upon racks of every color and style imaginable. She holds up a tiny little zebra-striped top. "You should try this on!," she smiles. Yeah, maybe 19 years ago before four pregnancies and three insatiable nursing babies caused my perfect 34B's to balloon to 38D's. "Yeah, that might cover my nip*les," I reply.
We finally find what we came for - a beautiful teal shirred one-piece with substantial enough straps to hold the girls up. I slowly meander toward the fitting room, stopping as often as possible to delay the inevitable. I finally get up the nerve to undress in front of the hated full-length mirror and pull on this tiny piece of lycra that magically stretches to fit my substantial curves. And you know what? It doesn't look half bad. The shirred waist tucks me in around the middle and it's not creeping up in all the wrong places. If it weren't for my fat little legs, I'd say I looked pretty good for a middle-aged mom of three.
I guess the moral of this story is Acceptance. I have to accept the way I look right now at this moment, on this day, if I am going to continue to try to change. No, I haven't lost the 30 pounds I thought I would have lost by now, but I'm exercising and lifting weights and eating well. I'm trying and I have to accept that I'm trying. Not getting angry about the way I look, or getting frustrated that the hundreds of squats I've done haven't given me long, lovely legs, or just throwing in the towel because I ate too much chocolate yesterday. I have to live today. Memories with my daughter aren't going to wait until I look great in a bathing suit. I have to put that bathing suit on today and make those memories before it's too late. Fat legs notwithstanding.
P.S. Driving home, I said to Amy, "I've always had fat legs. My entire life. I'll never have legs like yours." She turned to me and said, "You'd look really funny with my legs." It was a moment of pure insight. I realized that God had given me MY legs and I needed to stop wishing for someone else's.