Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bodies

For the first time ever, I was a mom for spring break. My man and I took the kids to an indoor water park for a long weekend and had an incredible time. Because I am female, I spend as much or more time as the men looking at other women’s bodies when we’re all on display in our swimsuits. My reasons differ, of course: I compare myself to them, see where I fit in the array of physical femininity, and try to decide how happy (or unhappy) my man is with my body, based not on what he tells me but on how I appraise it compared all the others.

That’s totally sick, isn’t it?

But I spent upwards of 24 hours engaged in exactly that, and it was maddening. Usually those thoughts happen on such a subconscious level that I continue about my business barely registering them, but this time was different. I had my daughter with me, and the thought of her thinking those things broke my heart. She’s dazzlingly lovely, and I want her to know it. I want her to know that she’s perfect the way she is. She so beautifully reflects her dad’s gorgeous Italian traits set on the smooth, olive-toned Native American skin she got from her mother’s side. She can choose to treat her body kindly or not, but it’s a perfect snowflake of a body that should never be disrespected by anyone, including her. Which is precisely what I was doing to mine.

And the thing is, every body I saw was “imperfect” compared to the cinematic, airbrushed ideal. Flabbiness was everywhere. Cellulite passed me every few seconds. Moles and discolorations marked almost everyone. My body is no better or worse than the others I saw. In fact, underneath our skin we all house the same snowflake perfection I identify so easily in my daughter. Some women treat their bodies more kindly than others – I have to work on this too – but God-designed perfection is our common trait. Besides, my body does so many wonderful things: it walks, dances, swims, makes love, stretches, hugs, laughs, twirls, and bends. How could I be anything other than deeply thankful for a body like that?

I hope, down in my core, that my daughter never forgets she’s beautiful. Jealous girls and lonely boys might try to convince her otherwise, whether they use words or not. Her dad’s voice, mom’s voice, and stepmom’s voice will be drowned out on occasion. So for my own part, I’m trying to be preemptive. I’m trying to remind myself that I am perfect and beautiful, and I’m trying to listen to my man and my dad tell me the same thing. Maybe if I can remember it for myself, I can role model it and help my daughter remember too. She’s worth it, and so am I.

Leave a comment

Filed under Stepmom Life

Cake Batter

I officially became a stepmom on 8 March 2013. It is no secret that I am brand-new to this. One week after we got married, I took my babies to baseball practice. Tee-ball fields and softball fields look exactly the same to me, so our car ended up as far away as humanly possible from the appropriate field – a mistake their “real” mother would never make. A couple of weeks later, I made French toast for my man and his kids that was unrecognizable toast-wise. Or French-wise, which is particularly disappointing, as “French” is literally in my job title. And we’ll ignore the fact that I didn’t recognize the terms “Suite Life” or “Upward” prior to last summer.

But none of that seems to matter to anyone but me. It doesn’t matter to them that I can’t keep up with the (whopping, massive, unending piles of) laundry or that the tracked-in grass stays where we leave it for days on end. No matter what the house looks like or what dinner tastes like, we all laugh and talk and enjoy each other like families do. No one complains about my ignorance. Come to think of it, no one really notices.

I feel kind of like cake batter when it comes to stepmotherhood. All the right ingredients coincide, but it’s going to take some time before I become the real thing. Until then, I’m savoring every moment of this most blessed journey. Every time I see the booster seat in my rearview or the butterfly socks in the laundry, my heart dances. At work the other day, I found a lone game piece in my purse from one of our family favorites. When I smiled and mentioned my find to a coworker, he/she said, “Ha, well, you’ll get over stuff like that real quick.” I wouldn’t bet on it; I lost a lot to get here. But God has restored so much, lavished so much. So, as long as they’re willing to walk forever to get to the tee-ball field, I’m willing to give myself the same measure of grace as I evolve into a proper (step)mother. Cake batter eventually becomes exactly what it’s supposed to be. I will too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Stepmom Life