Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cankles is an Awful Word (Repost)

This was from another blog of mine from a few years back:

I try not to look in the mirror often. As little as possible in fact. At this point in my life, with three small children, the sad truth is that I am pretty sure I have, at one time or another, gone days without actually looking myself in the mirror. I know. Bad. Brushing my teeth? Yes. Every day. Without fail. But I close my eyes while I brush. No joke. That or run out to see which kid is hitting who or breaking what while I try to reach my farthest back teeth and order children around all at the same time through a bubbly toothpaste filled mouth before having to run back to the sink to spit. I know. Bad.

The truth is I can’t stand to look in the mirror, and I don’t relate to the image it portrays either. That women in there, she isn’t me. She ate me up or something and I’m stuck inside her belly rolls and chin fat and cankles. She has smothered me really. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I find one excuse or another to stay on the couch or sew silly dolls instead of go to the gym or take my husky Yukon on a walk. My legs, my real legs used to do amazing things. In fact they were always one of my best qualities.

At 6 feet tall my legs were always long and lean and toned with chiseled calf muscles that carried me from high school and college sports through my final athletic feat, a marathon. 26.2 miles. The proudest day of my life. One I would never have been able to achieve without those beautiful calves. And without my mom’s well-meaning incredulity when I told her I wanted to run one. I’ve never been much of a finisher, so her doubt was well founded, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone tell me I can’t do something. And so I did. And my mother was my greatest cheerleader and ally through the training process. She’s good like that.

But that’s when this fat lazy old lady with wrinkles and lumps and blotches started to swallow me up. She was sneaky that one, moving in little by little. She kept telling me I deserved to let my body rest and recover just a little bit longer after that marathon. After all, I had worked hard and deserved a little rest, didn’t I? Just a little longer?

That was 9 years ago. Between then and now I got married, moved across the county to California, had three kids cut straight out of my belly, moved again to Texas where it’s just too damned hot most of the time to exercise, took up sewing, and that was that. Now those beautiful calves are lumpy cankles. The knees are surrounded by layers of soft stuff. What is  that soft stuff? My legs have never had soft stuff before!?! The scar on my belly is one thing I never feel self-conscious about. Mostly because I can’t see down there over my baby belly. Nope, not pregnant again, just never stopped looking like it. Maybe I just want to trick my body into having that healthy baby glow too?? It doesn’t work, FYI.

I think I'll go sew a doll...


I never wanted my children to see me cry.  To say things like "Mama gets sad sometimes." To grow up telling a story of a mother who loved them, but who was somehow broken inside.  In my mind I was always going to be stronger than that. Better than that.  Happier.  Yet here I am, in the dark, and she is in the doorway.  There are pills in the kitchen cabinet that my husband reminds me every night to take.

   "So that she doesn't go crazy," he explains to company when they are here late enough to hear his reminder alarm go off. It plays "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" every night at 10:30.

Sara must have heard me from upstairs when she crept from her bed into the media room where her daddy was deeply engrossed in his video game. She heard me and, instead of getting his attention, she turned around, tiptoed down each creaking stair, stood in the doorway for a moment, choking back a matching sob. She almost let it out before deciding that she needed to be strong for mommy. She put on her big girl britches and climbed in bed behind me. she stroked my hair like any good mama does. Gently pulled my bangs free of my soggy cheeks like a pro. Rubbing my back she softly asked, in her three year old, oh so adult voice "Why you cwyin mama? What's wong?"

I explain to her that its nothing to worry about, but the tears just won't stop. Normally at this time of night I would walk her back to her room, tuck her in while she kicked and screamed, and wait until she would tire herself out and fall back asleep. But tonight I reached over and pulled her close to me. Nestling her head into the crook of my arm and snuggling my face into her soft, sweet smelling hair. And we fell asleep. But not before she reached up and kissed me gently on my forehead. Like any good mama would. Just like a pro.