I lean against the pool wall, taking in the scenery while I watch Brooke’s long, lean body move dolphin-like through the water. Since discovering the complete lack of sound under water, she doesn’t come up to the surface much these days.
It’s 90 degrees, which in Mid-August New England has the added benefit of Amazonian humidity. Together, the heat and heavy air translate into something around ‘hot as hell’. Since many of the local camps – like Brooke’s – have finished for the summer, an army of nannies and their charges have migrated to our usually quiet haven.
Early twenty-somethings dot the pool deck, creating a pattern worthy of Team Umizoomi –
Tankini clad mom, bikini bare twenty something, mom with a swim skirt over the last fifteen pounds, bikini bare twenty something, mom in a ruffly one-piece fooling no one … C’mon, kids – say it with me … ‘Bikini bare twenty something!’
I involuntarily tug at the top of my bathing suit. The back pulls ever so slightly. A terrifying image of cinched back fat flashes through my head. It ain’t pretty. In an effort to shake it, I look around. Big mistake.
I’m immediately assaulted by a ludicrously flat midriff. Not even flat, but gorgeously, lusciously, infuriatingly concave. This particular midriff happens to be between two completely mis-matched bathing suit pieces. They’re not even remotely related to one another. They’re not even pretending to be. I guess when you’ve got concavity on your side, top to bottom coordination is optional. I grudgingly concede that she looks adorable. B-tch.
But wait. Hold the phone. I look more closely. I tried on that exact same top! OK, not in the same SIZE, but the same top. And then took it off as if it had bitten me. I looked like a train wreck in that top. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that my boobs still haven’t completely forgiven me for subjecting them to that particular indignity. (Sorry, Dad.) But damn, on Concave Midriff B-tch it looks really cute.
Kill me now.
I will myself to look in another direction. Brooke floats by, declaring that she’s jumping crims. I have no idea what ‘crims’ are, but they are apparently all over the pool and need to be avoided at all costs. I give her an absent-minded smile and go through the motions of saying, ‘Jump!’ when she shouts, ‘Crim!’ but my heart’s not in it.
I pull the bottom of my swimsuit into place for the hundredth time that morning. I try to arrange it just so, remembering from the fight I’d had with it in front of the mirror that the most comfortable arrangement was decidedly NOT the most flattering. I opt for flattering, obviously. I mean, it IS common knowledge that comfort has no place at a pool. Duh.
I continue to fidget with the suit bottom, despite the fact that the entire bottom half of my body is under water. Don’t look for logic. There is none.
I look around again, hoping for a distraction. I find one.
I spend the next couple of minutes trying to make sense of the improbable ratio of breasts to rest-of-body that is currently floating in front of me. I idly wonder if the poor dear ever tips over when she tries to stand up. I find myself humming the Weebles theme song – Weebles wobble! Weebles wobble! Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down. I spend a brief moment trying to discern whether she’d opted for silicone or saline. I stop just shy of having to face the fact that I’m far shallower than I think I am. Three cheers for denial!
Improbable Ratio gets out of the pool, mercifully leaving my dance space. As she climbs the ladder, I notice that her thighs are riding the cellulite train. Since I have a commuter pass on that particular train, I do an internal happy dance. No, I’m not proud.
Brooke floats by again. This time she surfaces just long enough to say, “Watch me flow, Mom!” (She means ‘float’, but she prefers the sound of ‘flow’. Just go with it. It’s Brooke’s world and we all learn to translate.)
I chide myself. I’m at a pool, damn it. Alone with my girl. In the middle of the week. My girl, who for a very, VERY long time would NEVER have said, “Watch me!” Hell, I remember the very first time she said, “Look, Mama.“ She had been just shy of six years old. So for heaven’s sake, this is not to be taken for granted.
We have nowhere to be. Nothing we have to do but enjoy the day. And each other. And what am I spending that time doing? Obsessing over twenty somethings with flat midriffs and overzealous boob jobs? Well, yeah, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I decide it is a LUDICROUS use of my time. And Brooke’s. I watch my baby ‘flowing’ in the water. What matters to her about her body is how it works and how it feels. She couldn’t care less how it looks. I choose to follow her lead. I seem to do that a lot.
I tug on my suit one last time – What, you thought I’d go cold turkey? I reach out to my beautiful girl. As soon as I get her attention, I shout, “Crim!”