She nestles her head into my stomach,
my “no touch zone”.
I try not to flinch.
I play with a particularly perfect curl
a bit of her coiled ’round my fingertip
Her little voice rises up so innocently,
“Why is your belly so jiggly?”
And I feel shame as if I were 13 again
lusting after those Jordache jeans.
Mad at my body for all that it’s not…
skinny, little, graceful.
But then, there’s shame for feeling shame,
I’m a Mother after all…
I pick my words carefully
Perfectly selected, delicate fruit for tender ears.
I want to nourish her.
I want her to know no shame.
“Because it’s full of love.”
“It grew three beautiful babies.”
“I love my jiggly belly because it reminds me of you.”
And for a moment, I believe
My mothering words
to my five year old daughter.
How do you teach
What you’re still learning?
No longer my “no touch zone”
This sacred place that grew my babies,
stretched by 9 pounds, and then by 14…
Still cradling curls and reddened cheeks.
My hands find my belly before sleep,
a moment of mindfulness in place of prayer…
thankful for life and love.
My husband’s hand rests upon my belly,
his arm gently draped over the curve of my hip.
We lie quietly in the sanctuary of our bed,
and the world falls away.
My belly is where I hold my strength,
for crunches and squats and sometimes burpees…
But it’s where I hold my STRENGTH,
for saying goodbye,
and watching them grow,
and speaking my mind..
An atlas of imperfections, it has navigated 38 years of life.
at least in my eyes…
and they are the only ones that matter.