There’s a drawer in my dresser that’s really hard to open. It takes all of my strength – and much prayer – to pull it.
It’s the second one from the bottom. It’s the first one with two brass handles instead of one. It’s my swimsuit drawer.
This year was especially difficult. Due to my newly diagnosed hypothyroidism, too little exercise, and maybe a few extra beers and burgers, I’ve gained some weight. My middle’s round and protruding, my breasts aren’t. The veins in my legs have risen to a whole new level of artistic expression. My thighs have gone from small curd to large curd. And my upper arms haven’t stopped flapping since I waved goodbye to last summer…
So, with each turn of the calendar and with each mercuric rise of the thermometer, I got more and more anxious. Maybe I can lose ten pounds before the end of the month. How long will that juicing diet take? Maybe public pools will be outlawed before the weekend…
But no. The life guard’s on the stand and my kids are waiting at the door with goggles in hand. Ready or not, it’s pool time. And I guess it’s a good thing that my love for my kids is bigger than my rear end – or I would never get that blasted drawer open or that high-quality nylon and spandex on.
This year – there was more love than usual, if you know what I mean.
After I insisted on carrying all the towels, swim bags, and several of my teenage children across the pool deck as a cover, I finally made it to my pool chair.
I had to admit, the sun felt good. Really good. My muscles started to relax and I considered taking off my
sweatsuit cover-up. While I thought about it, I looked around. The first thing I noticed was no one was looking at me. Huh. The second thing was no one looked perfect. Not one. We were all there in our pale flesh, humbled together in a beautifully chlorinated solidarity.
After a winter of comparing myself to TV stars and magazine covers, it was refreshing and encouraging to see real bodies with honest flaws. Suddenly, I started to feel different. I didn’t feel skinny. I didn’t feel proud enough to strut around with the teenage lifeguards, but I felt normal. A little too this and a little too that… just like everyone else.
The sweat started to trickle down my back and the water called my name, so I decided to go for it. I glanced around again, and sure enough, no one was interested in the drama of me wearing a swimsuit in public. Thank you, Lord. I pulled off my clothes, scooted to the edge of my deck chair and prayed one last time for Jesus to return…
Then, before I could think about it and after my kids dared me, I jumped into the pool like I was eight again.
We spent the remaining hours of the afternoon swimming, laughing, playing, and soaking in the sun. I even decided to do some pool-walking laps while my kids went to the concession stand. #humblebrag
And later, I floated on the reminders that I’m normal. And no one really cares.