Lessons From The Fitting Room Mirror

Day 173: Items Purchased: a bathing suit (Thank you Steve and children for helping me.)

Sometimes it takes a meltdown and a good movie to slap your perspective back into proper position.  After Friday evening’s psychological self-mutilation and emotional breakdown over very vain and insignificant complaints, I’d allowed myself a few unjustified moments in the pity-party zone. It’s easy to do this, especially when my thoughts are a little too “me” centered. It started with the fact that I’d lost my bathing suit bottom a couple of weeks ago. My favorite black suit was separated somewhere between my last visit to the beach and the most recent load of laundry. As you can imagine, a lot of road was traveled between points A-B. Like 99% of women I know, I despise shopping for a swimsuit, hate purchasing them. I’d rather go to the dentist.  It seems like the suits fall into 3 categories: sleazy, sporty, and old-fashioned. None of those categories suit me. I told my husband, “I want a glamorous suit! I want the one that is  vibrant and fun, yet mostly modest with a hint of sexy” You know? So, when I say that swimsuits don’t even trigger the temptation radar in the slightest, that’s no exaggeration. But, one must wear a swimsuit on the family vacation and I’m no exception.

Yesterday, Steven suggested that I try a new bathing suit shoppe because it boasted an enticing sale. He says “Look, the whole store is 40%, why don’t we go in there!” I, being  no stranger to retail sales devices, understand that if an entire store, especially a seasonal store that is in the middle of high season, offers a price slash of 40%, we are talking about cha-chingy merchandise. However, after the cry-fest in Target the night before, feeling completely silly in bathing suit styles designed for teenage bodies, I accepted the offer.

Has anyone ever taken a husband and 2 toddlers bathing suit shopping? When I read back that question it seems fully loaded and absolutely asinine. Yet, I did and it was a surreal experience. The two beautiful Brazilian associates were completely in love with my children and engaged them, quite affectionately for  1 1/2 hours while I sheepishly modeled 12 swimsuits.  My little kids were so patient and helpful, bringing different sizes and flooding me with compliments. It’s funny, because when my kids said “Mommy, you look beautiful”,  I really felt it.  Children under 5 don’t lie. It’s just not in their makeup. They are completely candid. Totally unplugged. They say what they mean whether it’s socially acceptable or not. It was clear to me that this much support and cooperation from my family in a store where I was miraculously the only customer on a Saturday afternoon, was a sign from heaven: it’s all good.

We decided on a bathing suit.  And, when I say we, I mean all of us: Steve, Owen, Olivia, and two sweet sales associates. I was elated. I actually found it difficult to choose between 3.

After the busy day, Steve and I watched The Company Men. Watching this middle class family start over after the father loses his job, was both heart wrenching and inspiring. You ride the emotional roller coaster with this family as they watch layers of what they had built together be peeled piece by piece. I liked it because it’s easy for people to say “Well, at least they aren’t starving, or oh yea…sorry he had to sell his Porsche. Not crying any rivers for him.” But  it was more than that. You could feel the depth of desperation and pain he felt when he says to his wife “I’m not just another a-hole out there with a resume!” You could sense the overwhelming  feeling of failure and rejection, which clearly overpowered his loss of comfortable lifestyle. But, he kept going. His family stayed strong. The family was everything. After this, I felt bad for complaining about aesthetics and preoccupation with temporal things. I was thankful for yet another reminder.

Last night, I counted my blessings again and again, thanking God for his great goodness and mercy toward my family..his love for me. I’m still thinking about this today, acknowledging that without Him and the breath of His spirit upon my life, I am lost. This I know, He certainly knows how to speak to me, albeit thru seemingly drastic measures: nearly naked me in a swimsuit.

30×30  Day 12:


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