“I don’t want to be fearful. I don’t want my tombstone to say, ‘She hid her imperfections well on the red carpet.” – Mindy Kaling, AKA one of my personal favorite people ever.
In my head I went over everything. I looked at my fear and anxiety and said, “hey guys.” (we are pretty close. They are around a lot). Then I told myself even though I was scared, I was going to have to be brave. I was going to have to suck it up and show up. Show up for me, and show up for Gia.
That afternoon I pulled on my swimsuit and slipped on my flip-flops and piled my hair on top of my head as fast as I could. I was in my most vulnerable state – barely clothed, no make-up and messy hair.
When we got to the pool I watched as Gia’s little eyes darted all around at the kids running and screaming and laughing, the water splashing and the sun bouncing off the deck. I felt her tiny fingers curl tightly around my finger. She was feeling it too. It was exciting and a little scary, but she was making a decision in her little head to be brave. She wasn’t going to leap in my arms crying or cling desperately to my leg begging for home. She was going to suck it up. She was going to explore this scary, exciting new place.
There were moms everywhere. Tan moms in itty-bitty bikinis with newborns on their hips, looking better than I ever did pre-baby. There were moms with tiny baby bumps and moms about ready to give birth. Moms who were mostly covered up, wearing long shorts and t-shirts in the pools. Moms wearing designer cover-ups with manicures and huge diamond rings. Moms who looked completely overwhelmed and moms who looked like they were relaxing on a yacht in the Bahamas. Moms of –literally- every shape and size.
But we were all there together. We all showed up. We were all brave. And how lucky were all of us? We were all there on a Wednesday afternoon on a gorgeous summer day, splashing with our children in the pool. Healthy enough to be enjoying the sun, free enough to not be at work, enough spare money to pay for this little luxury.
I spent pretty much every second with my eyes glued to Gia, and most of them with her little hand gripping mine. Maybe 2.5 seconds of my afternoon were spent wondering or worrying about how I looked. But I did notice, I’m no longer in the running for hottest girl at the pool. And instead of being ashamed, it felt damn good. I had more fun that afternoon running after Gia and taking her down the tiny splash slide than I have had in maybe all my years at a pool since the age of 12.
Isn’t that crazy? The farther away from perfect you get, the more fun life becomes.
Get out and go to that pool, whatever it looks like for you. Be brave. Show up.