Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Own Your Beauty: Through His Eyes

I try to accept myself for the way I look. I try to see myself as unique and beautiful in my own way. Sometimes I fail.

Then I remember: in his eyes I am beautiful.

In his eyes, I sing the best songs ever. I can make magical things appear out of my bag. I can turn any activity - like taking off clothes - into a silly song and game.

In his eyes I am there to carry him when he is tired and kiss him when he hurts. I make food magically appear when he needs it and join him in dancing to the ring of a cell phone.

When he looks at me, he sees no flaws, no marks that don't belong there, nothing that makes me less than whole.

I try to see myself through his eyes. And I know that I am beautiful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Her Hands Are Now My Hands

I can look at my hands and see my mother. Hers are often arthritic and swollen, knobbly and housework roughened. However, as I bathe my young son in the bathtub, I can perfectly picture my mother doing the same thing to her son 50 years ago. My hands become hers; my love, the same she felt.

Her hands tell her story. Every time I look at her hands I can see her past and my future.

I can see the children she tended and the dishes she washed.

The sheets she folded and the scraped knees she bandaged.

The items she slings across the register as a nighttime cashier and the grandchildren she cuddles in close for hugs.

She was born in 1939. Her life hasn't always been an easy one.  She's seen several wars and lived on more than one continent. She's rasied four children. She's had to learn when to hold on and when to let go.

She isn't traditionally or classically pretty as society would define. I would offer a picture but she hates to have hers taken even more than I do. But she is my mom and she is beautiful to me as mothers are to their children.

Her hair may be gray and her body saggier than it used to be, yet she still wrestles in the floor with her grandchildren and is quick to spout off a sassy one liner.

I see beauty and grace in every one of the knobs and lines on her hands. I see her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adventures in Parenting

Recently my husband decided he needed a new/new-to-him car. Not just any new car, he really wants a Land Rover. Oooh. Aahh. Yeah whatever.

So, I indulge this little fantasy and off we go to the dealership a few weekends ago. Child is up from his nap, snacks loaded in my bag, and we are off.

Originally we go there to look at one specific vehicle; it has been sold but not removed from the website. I tell him to look at a few others I knew he was interested in. I am feeding my child, singing to him, talking with him, all the while keeping him in his carseat thinking we would be leaving rather quickly. Next thing I know, husband is pulling off in a Range Rover for a test drive.

Hello? Fine. So out of the car we both go to enjoy the 78 ish degree day. My son recently learned to enjoy grass, he used to hate the very sight of it and would not step onto it even in shoes. Husband comes back and wants me to review said car he just drove. So while he and the sales guy continue to look at vehicles and I interject pointed questions, I also run around after my child to make sure he does not run down the hill and into traffic.

Sales guy goes inside to get information. By this time I am getting to be a grumpy, sweaty mess and the child isn't really happy either. I ask if we can go inside to get some air conditioning. I get cooler air but continue to run around after the child by myself as husband is in a euphoric coma-like state while surrounded by Land Rover vehicles.

Finally we all decide to go look at a few other vehicles. As my husband and the sales guy turn and head to the door what does my child say:

"Mama. Poo-poo diaper."

And proceeds to flop down onto the dealership floor and roll around while he tells me we need to "clack-clack" (slang in our house for diaper change) rather loudly. Husband and sales guy are more than halfway to the door, two older salesmen are nearby and staring at me and my child rolling around in their fancy dealership floor.

So what do I do...I double over in laughter. What else can I do? When teaching potty training, one must be open to embarassment of any kind.

Oh, and no, husband ultimately did not purchase the Land Rover, or Range Rover...out of price range. (Coulda told you that!!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Panera Manager,

Thank you for asking before acting. We ate at your fine establishment last night and as we were leaving my exuberant 21 month old was running along to the front doors and decided that the door stops were the most exciting toy of the evening. One of your cashiers called out to us how sweet and adorable he was and we all stopped to chat as he banged happily away on the front doors and greeted those individuals coming in for their dinner or evening dessert.

Then you asked me if it was ok for him to have a cookie. Apparently your store had inadvertently baked an overabundance of cookies and you were giving some away for free.

Not only do I appreciate the gesture of a free cookie, I appreciate you asking if it was ok for him to have one first. He may have had allergies or I may not want him to eat sweets. So thank you for your generosity and your thoughfulness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November - Own Your Beauty - BONUS - Pic of the Day

This is me. Bored at my desk. No makeup on. Face is dry from the cooler weather change. Taken with my phone as most of my pictures these days are.

November: There Are No Flaws

Wow, Own Your Beauty, this could be a tough one.

You want me to take a picture every day of me, or at least part of me. Hmm, I'll admit up front that isn't going to happen. Not just because I don't like to have my picture taken (which is incredibly true) but I also know I will forget and then I will get grumpy at myself for forgetting and feel as if I have ruined my own experiment. So, I will take them when I remember, when I find that moment of being centered.

I use the word odd to describe myself. Why? Because I think I am. I don't say it as a way to put myself down or make excuses for who I am. That word simply resonates with me. I think I will add to that description. I am not perfect, and yet I have no flaws. People will really think I'm odd if I say that.

I have chicken pox scars on my face because the case I had when I was 18 months old was very strong. I see them and yet no one else ever mentions them. Not people who know me, not strangers. I guess they are just part who I am.

I have stretch marks. I have a large c-section scar. I have short and muscular legs. I have a tiny Irish mouth. I rarely wear makeup. I prefer jeans and tshirts to any other clothing. I cry when I get angry. I like to be alone. I tend to give a lecture on what is really tea and what is not when people ask about it. I have very little modesty. I get impatient. My desk is organized chaos and I function well that way. I will not eat cauliflower. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a mom. My ultimate dream in life is to be a writer. I hate loathe math. I raise my child with some alternative parenting methods. I'm a cut-rate housekeeper at best.

I guess what I'm saying is that's I'm odd. And I like me that way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Authenticity: Oops I Missed October's Homework

Over at BlogHer they are pioneering a year-long movement called Own Your Beauty. The idea is to create change, at the individual level, so that each woman learns to see herself as beautiful. We often see the beauty in others and forget that others see us as beautiful.

The focus for October is/was Authenticity. The assigment is to list all of the things you do that fill you with joy and/or grace. I thought creating this list would be easy. It wasn't, at least not for me. Here is what I have so far, I hope to find things to add to it. In no particular order:
  • sipping good wine
  • knitting
  • having my son run up to me at the end of the day calling out "Mama" and giving me a big hug
  • long, hot baths
  • books
  • getting a difficult deal done at work
  • realizing that work was not the end all be all of my life and that the world would not crash down on me if I didn't get it all done
  • looking at the professional maternity pictures I had done and realizing how amazing and beautiful and sensual I was then
  • sharing my love for breastfeeding and natural birthing with others
  • letting out loud, unrestrained laughter when something strikes me
  • getting organized
  • spin class (how I miss thee)
  • yoga. balances my body, soul and emotions
  • using sign language with my son. he isn't deaf but I love how we are learning to communicate in a variety of ways
  • standing up for myself, even when I find it difficult to do so
I feel that I am missing the little things in my list. I am sure they will pop up sooner or later. When I am doing them and find the joy, I am going to remind myself to stop and savor that moment.

My moments of clarity came when I was pregnant. I realized that there was no reason not to be the person I really was. I didn't need to care what "others" thought of me. I started to stand up more for myself; started to do even the little things that before would have scared me. I realized that work was not my life and didn't need to be.

Here's to authenticity. I hope to learn more about myself on this journey.