How Do They See Me?

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Last spring, I took a day off work to volunteer in Lola’s class for Olympic Day. It was on one of the last days of school. There are games, races, and contests. Well before Lola was born, I spent about five years as PTA president planning Olympic Day events. I knew the drill, but Lola didn’t know that. She became obsessed with what I was going to wear to Olympic Day. For about a week, she quizzed me on what I thought I might wear, and then she would point out that whatever particular outfit I was wearing would be entirely inappropriate for Olympic Day. These conversations would typically occur when I walked in the door still wearing the clothes I had worn to the office that day. What? I shouldn’t wear a skirt and heals to Olympic Day? Day after day, I had a lot of fun teasing Lola. Finally the weekend came, and when I came downstairs wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, she said “There! Wear THAT to Olympic Day!”

Without a doubt, my kids know that I am quirky. It’s not such a big deal for my oldest kids. When they were little, Martha Stewart and I could have been BFF’s. I cooked every meal. I didn’t buy packaged snacks, because I made all of our treats. I spent weeks making them fantastic Halloween costumes. I even own a loom, and made all of our rugs. Then something changed. I suppose it was a gradual change, but when I look back on my life, it is obvious that I have become quite different from the woman who once spent hours each day in the kitchen. In fact, T cooks most of our meals now. He actually enjoys it, and I enjoy my relatively new role as a working mother.

There have been a lot of changes in the past decade. For the most part, those changes have been positive. I love my job….most days. I certainly love the money! T and I did without so many things for so long. Doing without luxuries makes them that much sweeter when they are finally within reach. I love to shop now. I love going out for dinner simply because we feel like it, even if there is no “special occasion.” I love my new self-confidence. I love to travel. I love participating in the larger world. I love being engaged in my life. Even though there have been some bumps along the way, I’m happy to be traveling this new path. As I have shed my traditional female role, I have certainly stopped worrying about what was “expected of me” or what others around me are doing. I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I enjoy what I enjoy, not what society as a whole finds popular.

In my home, I am comfortable to simply be comfortable. Home is my place to be me! Behind closed doors, I can let it all hang loose…so to speak.

Last Sunday, T, the girls, and I were giving our sweet puppy, Boo, his first haircut. For a six-month old puppy, he did great. He stood still and trusted us not to hurt him. I’m not saying that he looks professionally groomed, but he looks adorably perky. Our son, Luke called while we were all clipping the puppy. T, Emily, and I were all holding/clipping when the phone rang, so Lola answered the call. She grinned from ear to ear while she was talking to her brother. T was the next to talk to him, and then he passed the phone off to me. It was great to hear Luke’s voice. He had called to ask me a question. Would it be OK if he brought one of his roommates home over Thanksgiving break? I was thrilled and immediately told Luke that his friend would be more than welcome to spend the holiday with our family. I had been sad to think of this first year without all of our kids home and without any grandparents. Having a guest would be a welcome diversion.

I hung up the phone and told T and the girls that Luke’s friend would be joining us. Lola was the first to speak. “Mom! If we’re going to have company, then you HAVE to wear a bra!” I was stunned as she went on and on about how much I grossed her out on the weekends. I was shocked when Emily joined in. “Yeah, Mom. Your nipples are in our face. You can’t do that when we have company!” T just stood there laughing. I was seriously shocked. Never, ever had anyone in the family EVER made a reference to my nipples!

I have no intention of getting graphic, but I will say that I am not well-endowed. I am content with what is mine, and what is mine is natural. Truthfully, I don’t really pay too much attention to the old girls. All I know is that on the weekends, it feels great not to have the restraints of elastic wrapping around my body. I don’t dress suggestively. I simply dress comfortably.

Of course, I assured the girls that I would demurely cover myself while we had a houseguest. I had no intention of behaving inappropriately. Still, I find it interesting that I suddenly find my kids censoring my behavior. I thought that was MY JOB! I reminded the girls that women once publicly burned their bras as way to represent their freedom from the bondage of a male dominated world. Emily response was, “Gross. That’s so stupid. Didn’t they care if they ended up with saggy breasts? Mom, you’re just an old hippie”

Wow, over 40 years of feminism down the tubes.

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