You know what I don't love? Summer. With it comes sunburns, excessive sweating, & clothes that expose more cellulite than I want to expose. I've been on the countdown to Fall since May just pretending I could wish away the sun. This last week of temperatures busting at 100 degrees isn't exactly helping matters.
And then.....it happened.
An email about a Sunday School gathering. With friends. At a pool.
My initial thought was that this was a great chance to get the little one in a pool - she's been talking about "swimming like Nemo" for weeks, and here was my chance to make all her dreams come true. But you know what I couldn't avoid? A bathing suit. In front of friends and acquaintances. I'm just saying that's a whole new level of openness I wasn't mentally prepared for....so I took a nap that afternoon & woke up just in time to toss on our suits and head out the door. Of course, still in denial that the coverup would come off.
Sure I can just toss my kid in with a floaty and she'll stay right next to me as I dangle my feet in the pool right? Or not.
Well here's how this went down. We walked in. She was beyond excited to get in "the big bathtub" and we could barely get her floaty on before she jumped in. No fear I tell you. So I lean over the pool as she starts flipping forward grabbing mouths full of chlorine water (yum right?), and I know I've got to get in to get her started & upright. So off went the coverup and in I went.
The minor detail I left out was that there were probably 10 kids in that pool and ZERO adults. Oh there were plenty around, but I was the only one in the pool. Granted my daughter was the youngest by far and was clearly not yet in "supervised swim" mode. Want to know what will send me into a super self-conscious internal meltdown? Yeah this. To the point where when getting out of the pool for dinner, I literally stood there for a few minutes deciding the exit that provided the most immediate cellulite covering. Either set of steps forced me to walk past more people than I would have liked.
Strangers on a beach is one thing. Family is another. This group of ten or so families was a whole other ballgame for me.
But you know what made it worth it? The belly-laugh two-year-old giggles as she jumped off the side of the pool into my arms. How she begged for "more, more" as I pushed her around the pool. The sweet thank-you's she offered unprompted.
She just wanted me. To make memories with me.
And I just wanted to stress over cellulite.
I'm so thankful that I was semi-forced into jumping right in, because we had an amazing time despite my body-image issues. That moment reinforced to me what I don't want to pass on to my sweet girl. I don't want her to think people are constantly talking about her because she needs to loose a few pounds. Or that she's not lovable because she's not a certain size. Or that she shouldn't take part in certain activities because of how she feels about herself in a bathing suit.
My issues don't have to be hers - and I am choosing not to teach them by example.
The kicker for me in this whole thing was a comment from a fellow mom friend. I made an off hand comment about not expecting to be the only one in the pool, and she said she wished she was as free as me to just "get in". I felt like the odd-man out, but maybe I was sparking something in others. Maybe just in her. But one thing I know is I want to remember this moment. Those smiles and splashes covered a lot of self-doubt.....and I don't want to let the cellulite win in those moments.
I choose not to have my little ones childhood memories & dreams be squashed by my own insecurities.
So put on those bathings suits, shut down those internal voices & make moments with your family. And if people are talking about you or me then they've got bigger issues to deal with than either of us!