There are some phrases I always laugh at—like “you would make a great mother.” I always assume they left a verb or an extra noun off at the end.
Serendipity Ophelia Fontainebleau—or Seren Zippity DooDah Mountain Dew, as her third-grade school friends liked to call her—found out she was a glorious mistake on an exceptionally lovely July afternoon. Her mama said so, right there on the screened in porch, as she played in the yard, and Serendipity heard her and kind of liked the sound of it.
Mama usually just called her an aptly named parting gift. One she said she got from a hot night in the back seat of some shiny convertible from a kind-eyed man who always had a head full of horseshit and better things to do.
Serendipity’s Mama and the lady from next door sat there, in the rocking chairs, sipping on that grown-up iced tea that always smelled kind of funny and keeping an eye on her. The two of them rocked back and forth, slapping their generous thighs and hooting about how church folks always sang about laying their burdens down by the riverside.
And the neighbor lady said that Mama might have let that good-looking man lay something down there, in the parking lot of the Riverside Sheraton, but it didn’t sound like much of a burden to her.
Mama fanned herself afterwards and chuckled. And that’s when she said that, yes, Serendipity might have been a mistake. But she was the most glorious mistake that Mama had ever made.
4th of july, Absurdity, acceptance, antisocial, BBP, blogging, body image, childless, Commentary, Fales, Happiness, Humor, introvert, Jennifer Fales, joy, kids, life, parents, perspective, pool party, single, slice of life, Writing
So Nate and I went to a pool party held by great friends and awesome people yesterday, on the 4th of July. It’s a very big day or, at the very least, a great excuse for parties if you happen to be American. There were food and drinks and tons of people, and lots and lots of happy children. First off, I suppose I should explain two very different things. Let’s just call them the ground rules:
A) I have this completely irrational idea that my midriff, hips, butt, and thighs must be absolutely picture perfect before I can flash the world any substantial portion of them. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s pretend I’m a baseball field, and just call what I think of those body parts most days foul territory. Needless to say, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in a really, really, really long time. My hang-up…and it’s one of many, I assure you.
B) The only things I have given birth to are ideas. While they may gestate for nine months or longer, they have nothing to do with my reproductive system.
So, with the ground rules sufficiently set, let’s go on and dive into my 4th of July, shall we?
So, there I was, sitting in a poolside chair, at a table, under the shade of a tree, in my Super Woman tank top and 7-inch dark green cargo shorts successfully covering up foul territory. Rather than an introverted, harbinger of doom “PTA is not in my vocabulary” frowny pumpkin face, I kept an open mind. My sunglasses were on, I had a beverage in hand and a quiet “look, listen, learn” thing going on, and I was taking in the party, and the party people. Whoever came by and sat in the shade, with me or by me, I chatted with them.
And here’s what happened:
First off, there was a gaggle, or whatever you’re supposed to call that many parental units gathered together, of scantily clad Moms and Dads. None of them believed in foul territory. I was downright envious. Seriously, not a single one of them was in the least bit self-conscious about their BBP (Big Beautiful Parental) bodies. Child-rearing had somehow taught them just to relax and be whoever the hell they were as half-naked adults, whenever the chance arose. It felt like I might have been witnessing the filming of a rare Animal Planet Parenthood capture and release episode. There I was, watching all these beautiful, unselfconscious, jiggly parental units, tagged with cocktail glasses and hors d’oeuvres. They sniffed at other adults of the species, socializing fearlessly outdoors on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.
Secondly, there were children everywhere; butt loads of them, all screaming, giggling, and jumping in and out of the pool. And all the merriment occurred under the watchful eye of at least one community Mom or Dad. It was like weird, silent magic – no hand signals or schedules posted on the buffet table or gate, people just knew when it was their turn and what to do. And even if it wasn’t their child, they were quick to provide reminders of the pleases and thank yous, etc. As for the children—well, they were pros at sheer, unadulterated, incredibly loud and occasionally obnoxious joy. Not a single one of them had learned to hate their bodies. None of them worried about someone else judging them for whatever goofiness they were up to with all those float toys and belly splashes at one end of the pool, either.
Thirdly, I saw me—well, a teenage version of who I still am sometimes, at least on the inside. She was pretty and pale, in a black t-shirt and shorts. This girl snuck in and said hi to her parents. Then I watched her hover and skirt around the edges of the noisy crowd for food. Then she just sat and watched, hanging out in the corner with her legs in the pool for a bit, smiling every once in a while before she left. Probably because she couldn’t take it anymore. I genuinely liked that girl; to be honest, I think she was my favorite part of the whole day. Those of you that came out of the womb with a party hat and balloons in hand won’t get it, I know, and I think she and I are probably both okay with that.
So, how did this whole day end for me?
Well. After seven(ish) hours of festivities — technically five, but Nate was still nowhere near ready to leave — I wanted to go home, relax, and enjoy not being part of a crowd again. All in all, it was a lovely day. I learned my foul territory is just a matter of perspective. And I had a great time soaking in all the sunshine and the happiness, and watching BBP’s and their offspring doing all that boisterous human being stuff in the California sunshine.