I'm standing in front of my mirror taking myself in. I'm going out and I've dressed up. I check my profile and suck in my stomach. I tug at the hem of my skirt and notice that the heels of my boots need repair. My hair is too poofy, it needs a cut. My face looks drawn and tired, and I can't ignore the lines that keep appearing on my face. My skin is pale and my legs are covered in bruises and scars from last summer's flea epidemic. I am unhappy with the image.
Zachary is behind me when I turn around and announce that I am changing outfits. "Why are you going to change clothes mommy?" he asks. I answer that it is because mommy doesn't feel pretty. "Your crazy" he replies. "You are pretty! You should take a picture!" He means it as much as a six year old can. I'm not sure if he comprehends beauty at his age, but it doesn't matter. To my son, I am as beautiful as any woman for the simple reason that I am his mommy. I wish I could see myself through those eyes. Instead I am plagued with a lifetime of body image issues and self doubt. I always thought that it would go away. When I was an adolescent, I honestly believed that once you landed a man and got married all of one's insecurities would fly out the window. How wrong I was. Being a woman, an aging woman, is hard.
So we did take the picture, and as I look at it, I try to remind myself to be kind. I want to believe that what my son sees is what really matters.