She bought us all ice cream and we sat down.
“So, are you going to put yourself on a diet, or are you going to keep getting fatter?” she asked me. In front of my kids. But I was ready this time. I smiled.
“I like being this size, I feel solid and strong, tough and warm.” In front of my kids. The past 20 years have been in part about preparing for that question. Coming to feminism and a love of women, divorcing, moving two states away then five states away, decades in higher education… The 30 years before THAT I’d been a tiny slip of a thing, skittish, worried, pleasing, afraid. I don’t want that for my kids — who does?
“If you’d put on a little makeup and lose some weight you’d look better,” she shrugged. In front of my kids.
“It’s okay, I’m happy mom.” In front of my kids, modeling self-love and resilience. Somewhere in there my ‘running mate’ had exclaimed “I like it!” and I love him for it, but my kids (6 and 9 at the time) were watching me.
I’m not remarkable in the self-love and resilience departments. Losing a little weight would help my asthma, my back, all of it. But I want my kids to see resilience, contentment, and yes, self-love. And I want them to not see me trying to explain, rationalize, out-talk or talk down to my mother. And not take on her judgement and insecurity either (they don’t need to know that I still struggle with that bit). I think tonight at tuck-in time we’ll talk about Teflon. I’d love to hear your story about resilience and kids in the comments below.