Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AND I...AND SHE...

As I sit here typing this, puddles of tears are drenching my fingertips.
It's probably not good for the keyboard but I just can't help it.

Tonight, as I fed my baby girl before she went to bed I thought about this body
and what a miracle it is that it can sustain life.
I looked into the eyes of my little lovey and thanked my Heavenly Father for her and for this fabulous body.

It's not skinny.
It's not tight and muscular.
But it is fabulous and it's the only one I've got.

AND I LOVE IT.

So what if I lost my ab muscles during pregnancy and haven't been able to relocate them yet?
If they had resurfaced quickly, perhaps Celine and I wouldn't have the fun time every morning
where she sits on the couch and giggles at her Mommy doing a Zumba workout.
Looking into those ocean blue eyes while looking like a potential lunatic is the best feeling in the world.
Sometimes I look extra crazy just for her because it makes her giggle more.

Those are the little moments I treasure.
Imperfect body, homemade tank top, super dark circles under my eyes, and my little one sitting on the couch looking at me like I'm the most amazing Zumba dancer in the world.

AND I OWN THAT LUNATIC DANCING.

Tonight, I began thinking about the night I was at a neighboring apartment, without my phone, and walking home to find my parents sitting in the parking lot.

I sent my roommate inside while Mom and Dad got out of the car, 
had an awkward opening shoot-the-breeze kind of conversation, 
and then told me that Mom had breast cancer.

I was very strong for them as they told me the details
until I walked into my apartment and collapsed on the tile floor
beating the door on the way down.

I spent the night on the phone with my brothers and thinking about what our sweet Mom must be feeling.
I thought about that beautiful body of hers that sustained ME as she carried me inside of her and then as she provided my nutrition with the very body parts that were now trying to kill her.
It didn't seem fair especially since that same cancer took away HER mother's life so many years ago.
It didn't seem fair because she is the best person in the world and she had already had her share of HARD.

AND SHE STOOD AS THE ROCK AS THE SURGERIES AND TREATMENTS ENSUED.

Do you know what my mom taught me?
She taught me that every day is a treasure, and not just the ones after you find out that your days may be numbered.
She taught me that family is the most important thing in the universe.
She taught me that even when we are down in the deepest of dumps, we have to focus our energy on others and keep moving to truly be happy.

AND KEEP MOVING, SHE DID.

Do you know what else my Mom taught me?
She taught me to love myself.
She taught me to appreciate what my body can do.
She taught me how good life can be even when sickness takes away what the world views as the most important part of the woman's body (and not because they sustain life).
She taught all of us how to be strong.

AND STRONG SHE WAS.

AND STRONG SHE IS.

I thank my lucky stars every day that Mom was granted a miracle...
that I still get to call her on the phone 100 times a day just to tell her about the baby splashing in the bath tub or that funny thing that my husband said when I dropped off his dinner.

I thank my lucky stars that she taught me how to love my body
imperfections and all.

I thank my lucky stars that we were both blessed with the best husbands that love unconditionally.

I thank my lucky stars that I was able to watch Dad watch Mom go through cancer.
Never was there a sweeter picture than Dad giving endless foot rubs and leg massages in an attempt to alleviate even an ounce of her pain.

AND THE STRONGEST SHE IS

because of that day that I walked into the church, on the evening of the women's meeting, looking for her up and down every row, unable to find her until she turned around from the front row 
without her wig on.

AND SHE OWNED THAT BEAUTIFUL HEAD.

I have never been prouder than I was in that moment.
Looking at her, surrounded by women maintained by endless creams and cosmetic procedures,
I saw the most beautiful woman in the world.
The bald one on the front row.

That was the day that her teachings of self love locked into my brain
forever.

AND IT HIT ME

that she had to really take one for the team just so I could learn that lesson.
And that lesson will now be passed on to the next generation because she had to nearly sacrifice her life just so I could figure out that this body is a beautiful treasure.

AND WE BETTER LOVE THESE THINGS.

And if we don't...
well, that's not an option.

We have to figure out how to love ourselves 
so that our daughters will love themselves.

I want my daughter to love herself unconditionally
Even when she misplaces her ab muscles bringing a life into the world
Or when she loses her hair from being sick
And even when she sees magazines and movies that make her feel less than beautiful.

So, I guess the only option is to 
LOVE MYSELF

just like my Mom 
LOVES HERSELF

Because that's what God intended.

So, today while we're getting ready, maybe we could look in the mirror and see the miracle of a body
instead of seeing all the parts we think are imperfect.

Because the way we see our bodies
is the way our daughters will see their bodies.
So, thanks mom.
I still think you're perfect.

19 comments:

  1. Annalece! Oh how I love you and your beautiful mom! Keep shining girl!!! We must always love ourselves for each day really is a gift. I feel the exact same way as I look into my little Emmy's eyes. So grateful to teach her the same lesson. Love you girl!!! Ashley Nielsen

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  2. I'm not a crier... and I cried the whole way through. I needed that Annalece. Thank you.

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    1. I'm crying too. Thanks for that one.

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  3. The one morning I actually put make up on and now I'm in tears, I really needed this post today. Thanks for your beautiful writing and insight. You and your mother are wonderful, beautiful women.

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  4. So well said!! Your mom is a rock, and so are you. You are such beautiful women. She has always been a teacher, hasn't she. Going without a wig to women's meeting- that is amazing. I love this article and I'm going to share it. Thanks for your beautiful perspective.

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  5. This is beautiful! My body hasn't gone through child-birth or cancer, but it certainly has less-than-perfect parts that I frequently critique. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for what my body can do rather than focusing on how it looks.

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  6. This was beautiful! Thanks for sharing Annalece! And being Bald is Beautiful! It was my favorite haircut of all!! Tell your mom I think she's wonderful and inspiring! As well as her amazing daughter!

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  7. So beautifully expressed. I love and miss you and your mom!

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  8. Beautiful post! Both you and your mom are excellent examples to all women!

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  9. Wonderfully said. I needed that beautiful reminder today- thanks. Lots and lots of love!

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  10. Your amazing! Love your guts! Thanks for this post!

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  11. Dear cousin...thank you. thank you for this blog. thank you for your words. I am uplifted each time i read your blog. NEVER stop writing!!! You are awesome my dear! Thanks again!!!

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  12. I think there are lots of people who think your mom is amazing and I am one of them! What a wonderful woman she is! Having children makes you thankful for your mother.

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  13. LOVED THIS. Thank you! I think every female needs to hear your words. What an amazing mother you have!!

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  14. Hi, I found your blog through a friend of a friend's blog. I just wanted to thank you for this incredible post. It was exactly what I needed to read today. God bless your family, especially that beautiful little girl :)

    PS Your mom taught one of my classes junior year; it was neat to read about her amazing attitude during such a difficult struggle.

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  15. Annalece, I love this! You and your mom are both amazing and I look up to you both. This is something I have thought a lot about the past few years and I love how eloquently you shared this. It is tough as a women hearing/seeing the worlds' views and priorities for a woman's body because they are so far from what is really important about us and it is easy to get caught up in it. But we are far greater than just our physical bodies and our bodies truly are spectacular in the things they can do. I am certainly thankful for my imperfect one. Love you girly!

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