Thursday, July 7, 2011

My ill-fitted bikini

We are packing, or supposed to be packing, for our summer vacation.

Packing to me is like studying for a test.  Worrying about it is easier.  I think I have uttered the phrase "I have so much to do" more than 5,000 times in the past three days.  And then I don't do anything very productive.

I went bathing suit shopping today.  That was totally not productive.  It is cliche.  Grumpy mom eats five (okay 10) Hershey Kisses before going bathing suit shopping and then gets pissed when nothing looks good.

My daughter, who has accompanied me on my shopping escapade, lovingly says, "Mommy you are not fat, you're just mushy."  Just what I want to be at the beach...mushy.

I am careful what I say in front of Lucy, my daughter.  She is 7 and already told me she feels fat.  Lucy is the pickiest eater and survives on peas, carrots and apples.  She is in no danger of becoming one of the many obese children of our country.
Lucy at the very impressionable age of 7.

But as I frown at my mushy body in the mirror I am very aware of what my beloved television  has done and can do to impressionable minds.  Remember I am the girl who wrote Daisy Duke a fan letter in first grade.

Lucy stands up next to me in the dressing room and says "my legs are fat."  (This isn't the first time she has said this.)

Trying not to overreact I say, "Your legs look great.  Isn't the body amazing.  Look at my legs, they are very strong and help me run my races."  I smile while flexing like a body-builder.  

She looks at me, suddenly seeming like a 16-year-old, and she is not buying it.

"I mean it, my legs look good," I say with a pathetic smile.  Am I telling her or asking her?

Lucy's eyes pan down and she says "Really?"

I change out of the ill-fitting bikini, embarrassed, questioning my body and thinking she's right, I am mushy and my legs are huge.  It is amazing how much power a 7-year-old girl can have!

But wait, I am in charge.  I am shaping her future.  She will remember this day, maybe. I can change this from being about me looking bad in a bathing suit to something inspiring.

In the car we have a talk about civil rights.  She knows a little about it from some of the library books we got out last week.  And every MLK day we do a play about civil injustice in our living room.  (It sounds big and fancy, but it really is my 15 minute lesson on equality and we make a fun video.)  So today I take the opportunity to broaden the discussion and talk about women's rights.  The struggle for equal pay, the right to vote and more.

When we pull in the driveway I ask her how she feels.
"I sure am glad I'm not a woman," she responds.

Okay, so today might not be the day she remembers or that shapes her future.  But at least I distracted her from thinking her legs were fat.

And I didn't have to pack.  
But now I have so much to do.

JT's apron says A Woman's place is in the house....and senate. 


  1. See...funny, funny, & more funny! I think you & Lucy could go on the road. :)

  2. p.s. The security code I just had to type in to make my last comment was "chumple"!?! Who comes up with these codes? I think I'll take that job. And I think "chumple" has a very nice ring to I need to go finish rinsing the chumple down the garbage disposal...