Six years ago I carried you for way longer than I had anticipated. Inside, you swirled for what felt like a lifetime on full bed rest and then, as your wit and determination would later show, when the timing was your way, you made your way. You were born on another island, on a prairie, in a kitchen, in a pool, within our Victorian home. Minutes before midnight, with music loud around and our pets looking on, you floated to the top both perfectly and slowly. All this you know; we tell you of this first journey over and over. I know, I never tire of your story of our worlds coming together.
I’ve started to tell my daughters that I’m beautiful. I look in the mirror and with them by my side I say, I look good. Saying so is part of believing so. And when I slip on a bikini to take them to family swim night, I say, I like the print, the shape of the strap and I like how it feels. I still can’t say that I love how I look in a swimsuit, but I’m getting there. Three girls later and the map of lines left on my body speaks to me more than just how I grew to offer them a home inside. I’m far from loving these marks of a changed self. But they trace to my heart and all of what I know is true about worth and confidence.
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A little before halfway through the day, I figured I should do something I’d always been meaning to do. Outside, little wind, full sun and pouffy clouds. Inside, I packed an Olive picnic, knitting project and sunglasses. A usual circling of our minivan for errands and a mocha before I turned down the music and told Olive my plan, Hey, Olive. Want to picnic by the west side lighthouse?
it occurred to me right after I heard, Go!
I wasn’t running just the 10k and not the whole half
as I’d said over and over in the parking lot when asked
I was running the whole 10k,
like last year when I said I was running the whole half marathon
so I ran, proud
like, really ran the whole time
& got my best time ever
Friday’s sunshine came late
showed up first covered in grey
rain held tight after school drop off &
since I’d slept in
with a promise I wouldn’t drink coffee until I ran
I pushed Olive in the stroller, running it seemed in circles
up & down hills
so easily she falls asleep this way, still, even at three
at four miles we’d reached the muffin store
where she thought we were going all along
why did it take so long today? she asked at counter,
still sleepy, allthewhile smiling & all in love on Fridays,
just as it always is
when it’s just the two of us.