Bathing suit season arrived suddenly in Northeastern Pa., at least to those of us caught up in the mayhem of raising families.
We barely had time to think, much less obsess, about what bathing suit we would be wearing this year.
It’s a hard thing for most moms. It’s not like we get to pose our bodies on lounge chairs, presenting the best version of our less-than-perfect selves.
I remember when I was 20, I would lay back on a beach towel, one leg stretched out and the other just slightly bent at the knee.
The goal was to present the most optimal look to the rest of the world, ie: no evident cellulite, a flat stomach and plenty of muscle tone.
I see the college girls home for the summer. Novels and iPhone’s within reach, they carefully flip from front to back on regular intervals in order to obtain the perfect tan.
They lay back at just the right angle to keep their stomachs flat. If someone asks them a question, they might rise up from their supine position just to their elbows.
Rarely do they sit all the way up, artfully avoiding the dreaded rolls that appear on even the fittest tummies.
Moms, on the other hand, have little ones to look after- to chase, feed, rescue, diaper and reprimand.
Long gone are the days of posing like models in magazines. Just at the point in our lives when our bodies have been through hell, showing the wear and tear of pregnancy and age, we find ourselves forced to swallow our pride and just let it all hang out.
“Theo!” one mom yelled last weekend from her lounge.
“Stop it right now!” When her five -year- old son ignored her and continued to pummel his brother in a mock WWE match, she was obligated to run over and separate them.
There was a typical toddler, a little one who didn’t yet know how to share and needed constant guidance.
“Tyler,” his mom said, squatting down in close proximity to him.
“You can’t take that little girl’s toy boat. Now GIVE IT BACK.” These kind of directives simply don’t hold water if given from a supine position yards away.
I saw one mom try to convince her daughter that the kiddie pool was where she still belonged.
“No, mom,” the child whined, “I can swim now!” Both of her parents lay on adjacent lounge chairs next to the kiddie pool.
Dad was nose-deep in a book, no sign of acknowledgement, while mom negotiated. Before long the little girl made a run for it and so did her mother.
Dropping her coverup, she made it to the big pool in a flash, seemingly faster than the speed of light.
Once she jumped in and grabbed her child to begin her assisted swim, she appeared to relax. Most likely that was due to the fact that her thighs were now safely under the cover of the waterline.
Then there’s me, 44 and chasing a new walker from one area to another. Little Sarah’s joy at discovering the kiddie pool, the tiny slide, the big pool stairs, the gazebo and the assortment of pool toys, reminds me of her big sister at a gymnastics meet.
She excitedly flits from one apparatus to another. Meanwhile, she is discovering and soaking up everything I say, “Be careful,” “That’s a no-no,” “Wait for mommy,” “Feet first,” “On your tummy,” “Hold mommy’s hand,” and on and on.
It was a few years back that some of my friends, some older, some younger, started wearing those bathing suits with the tiny skirts attached. Some of these ladies are in great shape, but had simply made the decision not to bare their booties to the world any longer.
They found really cute suits at J. Crew and Lands End, not floral-patterned suits meant for grandmas. I thought about going that route, even tried a few on, but it just wasn’t me. Even if I’m sagging, I’ll sag in my style.