A dear reader commented and told me to knock it off, and I'm so glad she did! You see, I easily fell into the trap of being self-deprecating when it came to my body; her response reminded me to appreciate my body instead.
She said exactly what I would have told a friend if she'd put her body down. I've been trying to model body positivity to my kids since day one. Like when 3 year old Margaret cradled my booty in her little hands and said, "Dat's bumpy Mommy!" I just thanked her and told her I was glad to have such a strong bottom and legs. When the kids commented on my boobs, or Jack reached out and flapped my underarms for entertainment, I reacted similarly. I made sure they saw me eat what I wanted and not be ruled by a scale.
But with other women, it's so darn easy to break into the tired habit of communally wishing our tummies were tighter, our pants looser. Or, we put ourselves down in order to appear modest. I knew those clothes looked nice on me, but would that have seemed too show-off-y to say? Even at a Bible Study retreat last weekend with my close friends, we engaged in some stretch mark show and tell, and had a long discussion of rogue facial hair.
So, thanks to the reader who snapped me back to reality, this morning I spent some time thinking about the many reasons I appreciate my body.
Here are a few:
I am still in AWE of how my body grew, carried, and nourished Baby Andrew, even at age 46!
I am grateful my body enjoys food so much. I love all kinds of food and have no allergies. From our first date on, I have always eaten more than my husband. However, when I was pregnant with Andrew, my heartburn was so terrible, food was not my friend. Even water made me cry. Since Andrew's birth, I've been grateful to able to thoroughly enjoy food again.
My arms are coming through for me in a BIG way. With 2 injured shoulders, I was concerned about having to lift a baby again. They get sore, for sure, but I can (and do!) pick up that 20+ lb hunk of cuteness hundreds of times a day. Today, it felt like 200 times by 8 a.m. An egg carton mattress topper helps give my shoulders a good rest at night, and I'm up for doing it again the next day. Thank you, arms and shoulders!
My teeth have never given me a minute's trouble. They are strong, and except for some stress grinding, in great shape. That's good, because Smiling's my Favorite.
I'm even thankful for my inch of gray! It represents love and perseverance to me, because I started graying after the sudden loss of my mother when I was 18. It reminds me of what I've gone through and what I can do.
My feet are a size 7 1/2, about as average as you can get. That makes it super-easy to shop for shoes. And as long as I wear only comfy ones, my feet are happy!
My heart. Grief actually hurts the heart. I felt it. Yet my heart continues to keep me going. Thank you, heart!
Those are just some of the reasons I'm grateful for my body. What about you? If you are suffering from chronic disease, when it feels as if your body is betraying you, some days it's probably hard to find a single thing to appreciate about it.
I hope your body is kind to you today, and you to it!