Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bikini summer and the last hurrah

My last posts have been of a more serious nature. I think it's time for a little levity and comic relief. Pulled from my Losing It blog, this was written two years ago.  Before I was wearing comfortable shoes and plucking chin hairs. Enjoy...

There's an expiration date on a woman's age for wearing a bikini. I was certain I was near it or had surpassed it. I didn't set out to wear a bikini. Hardly. I was just hoping to drop a size so I could retire the jeans with the blown-out knee (see post, Diving for Pie).

I was now down 40 pounds and had gotten rid of those jeans and everything else in my closet. But I had kept the swimsuit. Like all women I know, I hated swimsuit shopping. That's probably why my swimsuit had the same number of years on it as my last teen-aged child. It was the tent variety--the kind that has a generous amount of material with steel-case under-wire support and a skirt down to just above the knees.

But our family was going to California in July, and I could no longer avoid buying a suit. I took my daughter along to give honest critique. I was going for a smaller tent, but Amber said I should at least try a tankini. I put one on. Surprisingly, it didn't look too bad.

Amber said I looked great and could even upgrade to a bikini. What? No. Did she know what a gray-haired middle-aged mom looked like in a bikini? It was wrong, unnatural even. But Amber said that it would give me something to work towards. I just needed to work on my abs.

I wouldn't have done it except a friend challenged me that summer to wearing one. She'd do it too. The challenge was to post bikini pictures of ourselves on Facebook by summer's end. I know, it sounds immature, let alone immodest. But I had a lapse of judgment. I was in midlife crisis mode. This would be the last hurrah before I entered old age, wearing sensible shoes and trimming hairs off my chin.

I was coming to the game late in life, but if I was ever going to do a bikini it had to be now or never.

Yeesh. My hands began to sweat just thinking about posting a picture for all the world to see. I envisioned being at the grocery check-out line and seeing a tabloid picture of a woman's thighs circled, the title reading: "Can you guess whose cellulite this is?"

I'd only wear the suit at Huntington Beach where no one would know me. I hoped. It would be a one-time event.

I bought a purple one. I practiced posing in front of the mirror. Unfortunately, bikinis don't come with under-wire support. But if I tied the straps really tight and put my hands on each side of my waist and pulled back, I could make it work. I briefly thought about using duct tape.

I started to work out hard core. I did strength training, upping the abs. On days I didn't work out, I ran or rode my granny bike. I did push-ups and sit-ups before bed. I was getting extreme and annoying my family. I wasn't the mom they knew, the one who had always said it was never too late for dessert.

Paige imitating the Mom Pose
I wore the bikini the first day at the beach. I was careful not to make any sudden movements. I got rope burn around my neck from the straps being pulled so tight.

The picture was taken with me standing between each of my daughters. They each put a hand at my waist and gently pulled.  I posted the picture when I got home. It wasn't bad for a gray-haired mom pushing 50.

Sorry you don't get to see the full picture. Like I said, it was a one-time event.

P.S. My friend never did post a picture, instead commented "gottcha" on my Facebook wall.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A time to dance
Our daughter, Paige, got married last weekend to her best friend. During Matt and Paige's engagement, Dave had brain surgery and had just finished radiation. We were ready for a happy event.

I took two weeks off for the wedding. The first to get ready. And, the second to recover and spend some down time with my friend, LaDonna, who had come from Washington to help with the wedding.

The weeks weren't at all what I had expected. There was the typical frenzy in finalizing details for the wedding. But the days were layered with grief and crisis. The week before the wedding our daughter and son-in-law, Amber and Paul, lost their friend, Brian, in a car accident. Brian was Paul's best friend and best man in their wedding. Amber and Paul flew home early. Paul was pall bearer at the funeral.

My brother, Lars, was critically ill in the hospital. His condition worsened when he moved to the ICU. At several points we didn't think he'd make it and took turns saying our goodbyes.

I was so tremendously thankful that LaDonna was here. She held me together during intermittent meltdowns. She cooked, made cupcakes, ran errands, scanned pictures for the PowerPoint, and decorated at the reception.

The entire extended family resolved that the events leading up to the wedding would not diminish Matt and Paige's day. Their day came, and it was beautiful from beginning to end. And, contrary to our wedding nightmares, it went off without a hitch. The few things that went wrong were so minuscule they are hardly worth mentioning. (Wedding tip: if you're planning on using tea lights, don't buy the cheap ones from Walmart.)

By today's standards, Paige, at 20, is young to be married. Several people told Matt and Paige they should wait to get married until they were through college and established. At first, we thought that would be wise too, but then it was apparent they were more than ready.

Matt and Paige have survived losses in their lives that most people twice their age haven't experienced. In the last few years, Matt has lost two brothers and one of his closest friends. Paige has helped him through the grief as well as that of close friends who have lost a parent or a sibling.

Matt and Paige have learned to trust God in all circumstances. They have an eternal perspective.

I sat for a moment with Paige during the Friday night rehearsal. I told her I was happy and proud that she and Matt hadn't lived together and were getting married. Paige said, "Mom, none of us knows how long we're going to live. Why wait and lose the chance to marry the person you love?"

The next day, Lars' family came to the hospital dressed for the wedding before heading to the church. Lars said to let the good times roll. He'd be dancing at the wedding in his head.

As Paige came down the aisle on her father's arm, it felt triumphant. All the things that had transpired in the weeks and year before made the celebration all the more meaningful. It was time to celebrate God's goodness and grace. It was a time to laugh and a time to dance.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4