Slim, toned, and highly manicured women of the world, move over: I’m getting into the pool. That’s right. I do not have tight little buns, and not just because I don’t have a personal trainer. I do not have tight little buns because I’ve spent the past 40 years eating slightly too much, except for the two years I was in Weight Watchers, when I ate slightly too little, and the three months I had morning sickness, where I ate plenty, but I threw it all back up.
Don’t get the wrong idea—I’m not hideously overweight. (Maybe 20 pounds. Possibly 30, depending on how skinny you like your women. Personally, I don’t like to see actual bones jutting out anywhere.) But parts of my body do jiggle quite a bit when I walk. And when I’m in a swimsuit, I just can’t disguise the jiggly bits. They’re going to jiggle right out there in the open, for everyone to see and judge. I say, Let them. Not because I think big is beautiful, because I am earnestly trying to lose some of my bigness, but because I’m NOT going to let Bathing Suit Embarrassment keep me from going swimming with my daughter.
So I gamely went swimsuit shopping this summer, seing as the last swimsuit I bought was in 2002—before Isabella was born—and the elastic had gone all slack and wasn’t holding anything in anymore. I picked a pair of navy blue and aqua swim shorts (hooray! No more razor burn in delicate parts every time I put on high-cut bottoms!) and a navy blue, black and aqua tank top with a plunging neckline (to draw attention away from my worst jiggly bits, and toward my best jiggly bits).
I modeled it for Sebastian and he said, “Wow! You look great! That really suits you!” and I had to laugh at the pun, although I’m not sure if it was intended. Isabella said, “You look awesome, Mom!” but then, she also says things like, “I love your big squishy bottom, Mom. In fact, you have A LOT of squishy parts!”
Thus armed with compliments from my loved ones, I took Isabella swimming at the municipal pool. Oh, the discomfort of being minimally clothed in public is SO worth it to feel the warm water slipping over my limbs, to immerse myself in the clear, highly chlorinated pool water. And the joy on Isabella’s face . . . she LOVES the water, even though she’s a little scared about swimming. But there’s nothing in the whole world like seeing my little girl’s dripping face, eyes ringed by pink-and-yellow goggles, grinning from ear to ear because she just executed a perfect starfish float.
Even if—heaven forbid—I gained another 30 pounds, or 50 pounds, I think I’d endure the stares just to lay back in that liquid loveliness, looking up at the blue sky and pine trees and puffy clouds, and listen to Isabella add her shrieks of happiness to the general cacaphony of the public pool. It’s pure summer, pure innocence, pure childhood.
And so whoever looks askance at me because I’m jigglier than the other mothers in the pool can kiss my big squishy bottom.