There’s an uncomfortable part of my arms I do not like.

Between shoulder and elbow there’s a sort of soft, squishy no-man’s land that testifies to my love for sugar and the three kids who make finding time for lifting weights more complicated than say, a stolen nap.

I believe some people call it their bicep.

To me it’s the part of my arm I try to disguise under recent fashion trends {how I love thee beautiful, brilliant bat sleeve tunic top}. But my daughter? To her it’s something else entirely.

To her that warm, soft part of my arm is her security blanket.

When Zoe wilts against me after long days in the sun or running after the boys or chasing Wolfie, she sinks her head into my shoulder and one small chubby hand wraps around my upper arm. Tightly. Always tightly.

Those tiny fingers wrap and re-wrap around my arm.

She holds on and lets go. She strokes my arm. She hums to herself, off-key like her mother. And then she unfurls small crab fingers and pinches that arm. Pinches and soothes and keeps stroking slower and slower as her humming fades.

Years before I knew my own mother would wilt away to nothing before my eighteen-year-old eyes, I remember a morning I buried all my teenage angst in her bosom. I snuggled up to her and just let myself sink into the soft, welcome comfort.

Her arms enveloped all my awkward angles.

She smelled like sunshine. So much joy beating just below the surface. I think she was wearing the mauve knit sweater top. I know I mumbled into her body the words I wanted to say out loud – when will I find my curves?

She laughed, turned up The Boss and promised me that they’d come with my first baby.

So tonight when I rock and roll my third in the white rocking chair with the faded yellow padding and she strokes my arm I smile in the dark at my curves. Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.

I’m not buying.

I rock and hum and maybe tomorrow I’ll slip on my three times a week or so running shoes and sweat some miles. But not because anyone shamed me. No, not this body. Not this mother. Not for this daughter. She will know I run because it makes me feel strong, disciplined and also, strangely at the same time, free.

Like dancing with her brothers in the rain. Or practicing my Russian.

She will grow up to know that I loved the body she loved. Even my arms.

Especially my arms.

 

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