Saturday, December 19, 2009

What My Daughter's Good Dress, The Toilet, and My Past Have In Common

My apologies to anyone who got up early this morning just to drink coffee and read my blog (ha, ha, ha . . .) but alas, I spent Friday evening putting a few good hours into a Christmas project with a fast approaching deadline. No. It wasn't my Christmas cards, though they're a close second on the project list.

Today was supposed to be mom and dad's day out. We were headed out on a little road trip, just the two of us, to attend a wedding in Aiken, SC. We had a baby sitter. We were set. And here came winter. Our sitter called at 7:15, and sadly, their driveway was iced, their power was out, and their heat was kaput.

Well, since we'd been up since 5:30, and everyone was dressed, the car was packed, and we were ready to go, we decided just to make the day a family outing. Of course, Wade and I were dressed for the wedding, but the children weren't. Hmmm. I opted to leave them as they were, especially considering Maggie's current propensity for toilet exploration. Oddly enough, one of her last toilet fishing expeditions gave way to the strangest epiphany.

About three weeks ago on a Sunday, I was thrilled to put a dress on Maggie that I had been saving for the holiday season. A black and white plaid three piece, this little dress was all doll and drama. I chased Maggie down, slid the short sleeved dress over her head, buttoned the buttons, wrangled on the long sleeved overcoat, battled the buttons, stretched the white tights, fought with the black shoes, and finally, popped the matching hat onto the blond head that was shaking "no, no, no!" She was all cuteness from head to toe. I moved onto her brother's wardrobe.

Fifteen minutes later, we were all but ready to go. I had my purse, the diaper bag, the car seats, a couple of prepared Christmas gifts, Wade, and . . . where was Maggie? That's when I heard the happy splashing. I dashed around the corner to the bathroom, hoping to divert disaster, but much to my chagrin, Miss Maggie was drenched to the elbows. Feeling much downcast, I took off the hat, slipped off the shoes, peeled off the tights, juiced off the overcoat, unbuttoned the dress buttons, and pulled off the dress. Then, I sanitized her appendages, and dressed her quickly in a cute--but far inferior--outfit.

That week, I washed the dress, pressed it perfect, and hung it over the dryer for my next attempt.
The next Sunday, I assembled her majesty's ensemble once again, and this time, I kept a close eye on her. When she headed for the bathroom--and she did--I beat her there and closed the door. She complained loudly, but I stood my ground. No, I said, you are not going in their and ruin yourself AGAIN!

At that moment, I was hit right between the eye-liner with this thought: I have been ruining myself for years. Periodically, I get unhappy with how I look or how I feel. I brush off what I know about health and nutrition, or I find a shiny new plan that could possibly change my life. I spend lots of time preparing for the shiny new plan. I'm excited about the plan; I put the new plan into action. But then, there I am, standing over that beautiful, porcelain bowl of shining waters--or, for those of you who might be metaphorically impaired--the 2nd dessert, the extra three slices of pizza, the puddle of sweet, sticky syrup on peanut-buttered pancakes.

Yep. There I am, one more time, and you guessed it; pretty soon I'm up to my elbows in potty water just like the times before. Then I have to take off all my hard work, go to the closet, and choose from one of the outfits thats left for me. On one hanger, hangs guilt; on another, a dress in the next size up; on another, regret, that looks an awful lot like my favorite skirt from last year.

Today, at that wedding, I had my picture taken with the groom--a former student of mine--the student that coined my nickname--Shankspeare. When I looked at the picture later on, I thought, is that really ME? I'm so ROUND! At that moment, I felt my resolve steeling. Next Christmas, my face is not going to look like something that needs a loop stuck to the back of it and hung on the Christmas tree. I'm done dunking my good dress in the toilet. This year, I'm stepping out skinny, just like I planned.

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