The end of a chapter

I have been physically capable of becoming a mother for the past twenty-five years, in that time I have been blessed to bring forth two new lives and it’s been a joy. Despite the ups and downs of mothering, to quote Maya Angelou “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey”. However that chapter in my life is over, done, never to be seen again and it’s exciting.

My kids are exactly thirteen years apart in age and more times than I care to share, I have fielded nosy questions from well-meaning people who assume that my daughter’s earth side arrival was an accident. The funny thing is she was quite planned, I knew that I needed to have some distance between my kids in part so that I could do some much needed growing up and finding myself. It also seems the universe knew that I would need a large reserve of patience to handle my daughter’s larger than life personality.

When our daughter arrived, for several years afterwards I assumed I would eventually add a third child, one who would be closer in age to my daughter. Yet as the years have gone by, the truth is neither I nor the Man Unit have had serious interest in adding another child. I would get what I called the occasional uterus twinges when I saw a baby, but they were just that…twinges. My girl was and is a high spirited child who at times could test the patience of both Jesus and the Buddha. However her spirit is what makes her our special ray of sunshine in a family in introverts with extroverted tendencies. She forces me daily to get out of my own head which is a good thing.

This weekend though with the arrival of the college kid, after a few discussions about my son’s future plans which includes another tour for his music and a possible semester abroad. It hit me that I am done with babies. I have no interest in being pregnant, dealing with diapers or giving up sleep, now that I have again tasted the sweetness of sleeping late on weekends. I am reminded that for all the deliciousness of babies (is there anything sweeter smelling than a baby and baby’s breath?”) I am entering a stage in my life and the life of my partnership where being selfish is possible; where I can realistically juggle not only my needs but my wants as well as the wants and needs of my children. I take this as yet another sign that I am mentally and emotionally finished with the baby days.

So while I am filled with joy at the start of a new chapter, there is a certain sadness when a season in our lives ends even when we make the choice to end it. However like much of life, it will pass.

Kicking and screaming to change

Now that we are officially in the middle of fall, I am reminded that in the coming days I will be hitting some major milestones as an adult. I didn’t think they would be that big of a deal to me but as they grow closer, oh, let me tell you…they are huge.

First up, in a few short days, the Man Unit and I will celebrate 15 years of wedded bliss/unbliss and back to bliss. Where the hell did the time go? 15 years ago, this week, I stood in front of my Dad who married us and promised all these awesome things while looking fabulous in a small single digit sized dress. I have more or less kept those promises, and after a reworking of the life contract, I don’t really have too many complaints except, who stole the Man Unit’s hair? And where the hell did that girl’s body go?

Which brings me to the next milestone, I turn 40 at the beginning of the year and while we are still wrapping up this year, the fact that I turn 40 at the beginning of next year is looming large in my mind. 40 is not the new 20 or 30 people!!! 40 is 40 and while I know I have many absolutely fabulous attributes, the fact is I have changed and while I have never been a beauty queen, there are moments when I am just not one with this new and improved body. I was reminded of this a few days ago, when I dressed up in my artsy best and even wore the good bra for some boost and immediately felt like I had become someone else. Hell, even attractive young men were saying hello and opening doors for me. Thanks people! Guess when I am not intentional, I am looking like an old sea hag these days, tis life.

Seriously though, aside from the outer changes which are too numerous to change, though I sometimes wonder do I need to start the plastic surgery fund…I jest. There are the internal changes, which I actually feel. This past week, I was unable to make it to yoga more than once, I barely got in any walking and by the end of the week, my body was revolting with stiffness. Yep, if I don’t stay on my daily movement plan, the stiffness sets in. Gee, thanks. Let’s not even talk about the fact that at my next visit to the eye doctor, I may need to upgrade to some reading glasses. Why the hell are the fonts so damn small?  I am pretty sure reading articles on my phone does not help…helloooo, enlarge the fonts people! Then there is the memory, the man unit has 5 years on me and for years I have teased him about his memory…now? I am the one who struggles to remember names. Payback is a bitch, thank goodness though for sticky notes, my saving grace and memory assistant.

Lastly, not along after I turn the big 4-0, the eldest kiddo turns 21. Dude, 21 is like a real adult and when the hell did he get that old? I know, I know, he’s young and I am young but when that is your kid, the human you created becoming old enough to head to the bar and down a pint, it’s a strange feeling.

Change is part of life, change is often good, hell it’s necessary, it is part of the journey we call life but it doesn’t mean it will always be easy. So it’s my season to embrace all the changes I have headed my way, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Women Talk…The sexy or not so sexy pot

One of my all-time favorite films is Pulp Fiction, I admit I am a pretty big Quentin Tarantino fan…can’t explain it. In Pulp Fiction there are a few lines by a minor character Fabienne that when I saw movie 20 years ago, didn’t really register but as I grow into a chick of a certain age, these lines totally resonate.

Fabienne: I was looking at myself in the mirror.
Butch: Uh-huh?
Fabienne: I wish I had a pot.
Butch: You were lookin’ in the mirror and you wish you had some pot?
Fabienne: A pot. A pot belly. Pot bellies are sexy.
Butch: Well you should be happy, ’cause you do.
Fabienne: Shut up, Fatso! I don’t have a pot! I have a bit of a tummy, like Madonna when she did “Lucky Star,” it’s not the same thing.
Butch: I didn’t realize there was a difference between a tummy and a pot belly.
Fabienne: The difference is huge.
Butch: You want me to have a pot?
Fabienne: No. Pot bellies make a man look either oafish, or like a gorilla. But on a woman, a pot belly is very sexy. The rest of you is normal. Normal face, normal legs, normal hips, normal ass, but with a big, perfectly round pot belly. If I had one, I’d wear a tee-shirt two sizes too small to accentuate it.
Butch: You think guys would find that attractive?
Fabienne: I don’t give a damn what men find attractive. It’s unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same.

My reality is that I have not had a totally flat belly in years, oh for years I could suck it in and voila, she was flat. But ever since my unfortunate umbilical hernia and the resulting double hernia repair surgery sometime back, it’s become clear that I and the flat belly will never know each other ever again. Even when I have lost weight and gotten down to some small number, the belly is there. She is fucking magnificent; she is a fucking pot belly!

When I am in a good mood, I revel in this belly, I marvel how I have seen her stretch to accommodate the womb and the humans it’s grown, one of whom now stands 6’4 and resides 1300 miles away at college…I think fuck, my body is powerful. Then I have those days when I am trying to find something to wear and all I can think is why are you in my way? Since apparently no one other than the makers of maternity wear assume that woman can ever have a pot belly. Never mind that men’s clothes seem to allow for a little man girth around the middle, so a guy can have a little pooch and still look sexy as hell but with women’s clothes we either appear pregnant or everyone knows we have the belly.
Yesterday was such a day for me, as someone I know through work decided to ask that nosy question, and I had to let him know, sorry I am not expecting. Mind you the guy doing the asking had a pooch; maybe I should have asked him when he was due.

Part of making peace with myself is learning to love me in all my stages and shapes and that means trying to accept the body I currently reside in, but I have to be honest, it’s rocky at present. I have been forcing my midsection into various pieces of containment devices, Spanx, hell I even put on a girdle contraption the other day to force my lovely pot into submission. When will I learn?

Yet it hit me last night, that for many women once we sail past 35, start creeping towards 40 or dash past 40, that are bodies settle much like our minds. Some of us are graced with lithe dancer/runner bodies that can give birth to 4-5 kids and still deflate back down, but many of us don’t have it that way. Shit, it’s why almost every woman I know owns at least one piece of Spanx.

I am starting to think as women we need a movement to make the belly sexy, demand that clothing designers allow for some girth around our middles. Since as I have learned going up a size in clothes rarely helps since then then the top is literally falling off my shoulders. Big asses are sexy, so I say let’s make potbellies sexy!

Today’s post is part of an occasional series I want to do on women’s stuff, I am toying with the idea of maybe even talking about issues of sexuality that affect women, the good, the bad and the in between but wondering how regular readers may take it. Feedback and thoughts would be appreciated.