суббота, 22 сентября 2012 г.

Sloppy Mommy, Little Faces

By Julie R. Bunnell

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.

I used to have some fashion sense. I knew what was hip and what was not, I knew what colors were "in" and what styles were "out." I wore hipster jeans, layered tees, flashy belts, and peasant blouses. I loved earrings and had a cute pair to match each outfit. I loved shopping at boutiques in the mall, and got excited about bringing home new accessories. I was cute.
Then I got married and started college. Slowly, without any consciousness on my part, my wardrobe started to drift into fashion obscurity. Between working, homework, classes, and new wifely duties, keeping up with modern fashion drifted more and more out of my mind. Then, I became a mommy, and all fashion sense was completely replaced by all things baby. Earrings, sandals, and color-coordination were replaced by pacifiers, baby booties, and teddy bear nursery themes. I traded my hip denim purse for a bulky Winnie-the-Pooh diaper bag. I was so busy that I didn't even notice.

By the time my second baby was born (only fifteen months after the first), my entire wardrobe consisted of over-sized T-shirts and jeans from the thrift store. I had become so consumed with my growing family that I had no idea what fashions were even "in." I considered it a great accomplishment just to be showered and dressed before noon. The nicest article of clothing in my closet was a T-shirt that said "Best Mom in the World." It actually fit me.

So, the new year came, and I decided to make some changes. As part of the "new me," I wanted to start dressing better. I was tired of looking so sloppy. So I went to Target and picked out some pretty outfits. They still weren't as hip as my clothes once were, but they were nice and actually fit me. I got them home, tried them on, and dazzled myself. It was like a new coat of paint on a ragged old room.

Yesterday was my birthday, and my husband and two toddlers and I went out to eat to celebrate. I got to wear one of my new outfits for the first time, and I felt great. I was so excited to find myself again, to emerge from the swirling sinkhole of cotton T-shirts and mom-jeans. I looked awesome.

But as soon as our food was served, I remembered why I dress the way I do. Sitting next to my two-year-old, I watched with dread as she bypassed her fork and dug right into her mac and cheese with her little fingers. Before I had a chance to wipe her cheesy hands, she grabbed hold of my arm and used the sleeve of my new black sweater as a napkin. I tried in vain to keep her hands clean and to remind her about the purpose of silverware, but as the meal went on, I ended up with more and more cheese and ketchup on my new clothes.

I looked across the table at my husband and sighed. Suddenly, I felt very sad to realize that that part of my life truly is gone. I mentally resigned myself to being a slob for life and gave up any hope of looking halfway decent. Just like that, the good feelings and confidence were gone.

Then I felt the little hand on my arm again. I looked over and saw my daughter's bright eyes and cheesy grin. "Mommy! Hi!" she squealed with delight. That little face just melted my heart. A wave of love and affection washed over me, completely absolving any sadness. I was there with my family, and that's all that mattered. I hugged that little girl as tight as I could, cheesy face and all.

I may never get the cheese out of my new outfit, but it will serve as a great reminder of the time when my daughter got complete happiness just from sitting next to me. I may be resigned to faded jeans for the next several years, but as long as I get to look at that little face, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

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