THROUGH MY DAUGHTER’S EYES

I felt inadequate growing up; chubby, never pretty enough, bent on perfection, feeling like I always needed to be better. As a result, I spent a long, long time looking in the mirror, never seeing someone I liked.

Then one day all of that changed when I met for the first time a beautiful, passionate, and confident woman – myself …

It was a hot summer day and my daughter Jessica wanted to go swimming. I had a horrible headache and was feeling sorry for myself, having not yet lost the weight from my last pregnancy, eight months before.  I was on mommy overload  and had no energy left to go outside and play. I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

After an hour of Jessica begging me to at least try on my bathing suit, I agreed to take her swimming.  She sat on my bed, watching me try on two or three old bathing suits.

“That one’s beautiful,” she said, so sincerely.

“Oh no, this one is still a little too tight,” I replied, turning to look at the back of my thighs and then back to my paunchy stomach hanging over the seam. I was horrified.

“I like that one the best!” Jessie said, nodding her head for added enthusiasm.

“Yeah, I guess it looks okay,” I said halfheartedly.

“But how does it feeeeel, Mommy?” she asked.

I smiled at her attempts.

“Well, it feels pretty good. Let’s go swim.”

We ran out the back door and Jessica immediately jumped into the pool, begging me to jump in after her. But I like to go in the slow way, so I began inching my way in, toe first, then my ankle.

“Jump in Mommy!” Jessica squealed.

I was so hot, and knowing that I would have to start dinner soon, I figured, what the heck, and cannonballed into the water. Jessie was delighted that I hadn’t followed my normal routine, and she swam over to me splashing and kicking.  She gave me a big hug.

“How do you feel?” she squealed again.

“Cold,” I stammered, laughing and trying to catch my breath.

Jessica giggled and splashed around me some more, then threw her little arms around my neck.

“How do you feel now?” she asked.

“I feel great” I said with the enthusiasm I knew she was waiting to hear in my voice.

“See Mommy?” she said, smoothing my hair away from my face. “You do look beautiful.”

I climbed out of the pool and cannonballed in all over again. But this time, I left the old me standing behind on the deck – the me I never wanted Jessica to know. I felt young and happy again, cutting loose in the water with a new freedom …

I caught a glimpse of the way Jessica saw me, and I understood how awful she’d feel if she knew how bad I felt about myself.

Source | Marlo Thomas, Bruce Kluger, The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2: Your Turn,
(Atria, 2007) pages 114-117

CONSIDER THIS

It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Beauty is not inherent in anything – it’s how we look at things.

Beauty isn’t always something that you see; it’s also something that you do and that you feel –  laughing out loud,  dancing with gusto,  holding hands with someone you love,  reaching your goals,  running through the sprinklers, taking chances,  loving completely,  singing along with the car radio,   sharing your life with someone, knowing your kids think you’re funny, and cannonballing into a pool.

These things are beautiful.  They make you feel beautiful. Beautiful is not an adjective, but a verb.

ONE SOCK

Once upon a time a young man, on a bicycle ride around the world, stopped awhile in a West African Village to help build a bakery. It took several months to build the bakery. They made bricks from crushed anthills.  Every day the village children came to help.  None of the kids had shoes but one happy little guy always wore one sock – no shoes, just a sock.  He was about ten years old.  He got nicknamed One Sock.

One day someone, curious, asked, “One Sock, tell me about this one sock you always wear.”

He said proudly, “My mum washes it every night.  I wear it every day.”

“Yes, but why do you wear one?”, the other continued.

One Sock seemed surprised by this silly question, and then smiled broadly and said, “Because I only have one!”

Source | Based on Andrew Matthews, Happiness in Hard Times

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Are you content with what you have? Or are you always wanting what you don’t have? Perhaps you have lost  something: your job, an opportunity or a precious possession. Perhaps you have lost someone: a spouse, a friend or a business colleague. Perhaps you are in that space of feeling lost and don’t know what to do next. Here is the first thing and perhaps the only thing you can really do: accept where you are.  Embrace the present reality.

For a change to happen one must first make peace with the present situation. Drop the the blame, the guilt, the shame. Drop the “what ifs” that choke and limit.  Growth and maturation unconditional acceptance.

Acceptance does not mean “I want to stay here.”  Acceptance means: “This is where I am – and now I choose to move in the direction of my deepest urgent longing of my heart.”