Parenting Guru: Finally thankful for my imperfections!

In my twenties, I spent the small amount of disposable income I had on my wardrobe. I have since accumulated boxes of designer shoes, a couple of elaborate ball gowns, and piles of blouses, pants, skirts and accessories. This morning, while my four month old finally napped for longer than twenty minutes, I began one of my favorite tasks; swapping summer clothes out for winter clothes.

Putting away the tight tanks I never got to wear this year, I only briefly thought of the time I spent in baggy dresses and high waist skirts; easy clothes to wear after my June c-section. Next, I pulled out the fitted v-neck sweaters, J. Crew cardigans and boot cut dress pants, wondering if I'll fit into them this winter. I can't even remember a body that slim or that fit. My fingers traced the gold buttons of a perfectly folded, especially beautiful argyle sweater. I'd forgotten I owned such a magnificent piece.

Ironically, even with a decadent wardrobe, I still spent the majority of my twenties criticizing my body. I thought my breasts were too large, my stomach was too thick, and my arms were not toned enough. Ugh. It's funny how things change. Now, with breasts three sizes larger than they were pre-pregnancy, and ten pounds clutching desperately to my frame, I am thankful. Even though I long for the cute and colorful winter wardrobe that is still slightly out of reach, and even though I hung the sweaters with cautious optimism and a realistic sigh, I am so incredibly thankful.

Today, I look at my figure that is not quite where I want it to be, and I think about my hectic schedule and the short amount of time that I get at the gym, and I still take enormous pride in my body. For nine months, this body grew a little boy who is healthy and thriving. Now, this body nourishes his growing frame, and he is flourishing. When he nurses, he stares at me with his big dark brown eyes, and those are the sweet, intimate moments that have made this year perfect and magical.

Do I miss the clothes? Absolutely. Will I be thrilled when they fit again? You bet. But, for the first time in my life, after spending so much time criticizing and tweaking, I am proud, thankful and appreciative for this strong body that gave me my child.

To finish off my chore, I took one more sweep of my closet. One piece, a one shoulder black shirt decorated with a bright Hawaiian flower, has been hanging in my closet since my bachelorette party two years ago. That night, I felt fabulous. Hot red heels, black shorts and that black top; it was an amazing ensemble. I fit into that shirt perfectly two days before my wedding, and I've never worn it again. But it's stayed on its hanger, and for two years, I've let it occupy a spot in my cluttered closet. I just wasn't ready to let go of that incredible night or that top-of-the-world confidence I felt when I wore it. But it isn't that way anymore. Now, my confidence comes from a deeper place.

So today, with only a passing thought to that remarkable night, I finally folded the one shoulder wonder and slid it into a storage drawer. Maybe it will make another debut one day. But for now it's okay to stay put away. And I'm not sad. I am grateful.


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