The last days of summer are upon us.
Toviy and I went to the new open-air swimming pool yesterday. It looked like a huge ant pile. So many people, different sizes and colors.
Toviy claimed a corner of a shallow pool for babies and frolicked there while I sat next to him making sure the most adorable creature in the world didn’t trip, fall and bump his head (he pronounces it “hird”).
I also observed the people around me, and what I saw made me smile and cry (happy cry).
There were a few teenage girls in their bikinis, so young and pretty like blossoming flowers, walking around giggling, making sure guys dutifully checked them out. Their bodies were so perfect. They seemed the epitome of carefreeness and their youthful spirits hovered around like small happy clouds. I liked watching them. They made me smile with memories of my own adolescence popping in my head like popcorn.
There were lots of families with children. The cultural diversity was astounding. At least 15 countries were represented there in different shapes and fashion styles. The children playing were so pure and beautiful, and us parents just enjoyed ourselves on a perfect summer day in Amsterdam (a truly rare occasion).
One can’t help but notice things at the swimming pool. I mean, people are half naked there. I noticed how many moms had scars and stretch marks on their bodies. Half of them were plump. Just a few were in what you would call “good shape.” But the very fact that their bodies were so imperfect made me shed a tear.
I thought about how difficult it is to be pregnant. About how you feel like you can’t control your body anymore. About how so many women have their skin stretch, knowing they might never look the way the did before.
And then there’s delivery. All for a little baby that will swallow your world and replace it with his or hers forever. And after countless sleepless nights, after many headaches and pains and aches, you look at yourself in the mirror and think:
“Should I venture into this world, the big scary competitive, comparing, jealous, brutal, merciless world of trying to preserve young physical beauty forever? What will I add to it with my stretch marks and scars and faint memories of my once firm beautiful body? Will I be judged? Will people look funny at me? Is it worth my child having fun in the swimming pool today?”
And what I saw that day was the answer. Yes, it is worth it. It’s worth every stretch mark and extra kilo for your child to play blissfully in that swimming pool knowing that his or her mom gave everything, literally, physically, everything for him or her to enjoy that beautiful warm rare summer day in Amsterdam.
So. You go out there, proud mama, and show off your curves and your gorgeous body for everyone to see the love and work it took to grow and deliver that gift of yours. Let the whole world behold and let them be amazed!
Yeah, you should hurry because the warm summer days here are scarce, and there are so many that need to see the raw, undiluted, untamed beauty of that body of yours.
The swimming pool day was a success. I didn’t feel jealous of the young pretty girls. I was proud to be one of the many moms who enjoyed the well-deserved bikini day, laughing the fears and doubts away.
Header image by Toni Cuenca