Gah, this picture makes me so mad.
Those are my husband’s hairy legs and white feet lounging poolside. We were on a big family trip to Florida for Christmas. His uncle was kind enough to crank the pool heater up to 90 degrees in honor of his Midwestern family visiting.
Like a lot of women, I don’t relish the thought of wearing a swimsuit. It isn’t my first choice to unveil my cellulite. Especially in the company of my husband’s thin family. The voices in my head arguing between “don’t bring the suit” and “wear the damn suit” back and forth they shouted.
The rational side of me won out. Despite my self-consciousness, I went in the pool. My son was in the pool. I love the water. I’d never been in a pool on Christmas Day before. This was something I wanted and needed to do. I was playing catch with our son, sipping a cocktail, enjoying the evening sun. It was a small victory for me. It would’ve been easy to not bring a suit to their home. It would’ve been comfortable to lounge in the sun and not bare what I’d like to hide. I didn’t let the insecurities win and we played until the sun went down and I was happy.
Then I saw this photo, my husband, who rarely posts on Facebook, posted this to his page. He added a caption about maybe we’d been doing Christmas wrong all these years. It was funny. But it bothered me. Bothered me that he didn’t capture his wife and child playing in the pool just out of view. It was Christmas after all. A Christmas unlike any other we’d celebrated. It seemed worthy of a photo. So I commented to him, “It would’ve been nice if you would’ve included your family in the picture.”
His response broke me, “I wanted to, but I figured you wouldn’t want your picture taken.”
He assumed that I would’ve gotten upset, so he didn’t take a picture. I told him I would’ve loved that picture.
I was and still am so mad at myself.
There are plenty of articles out there encouraging dads to take photos of moms. I agree wholeheartedly. Moms should be in pictures. That is a gift for down the road at a later time. However, how many of us have unknowingly discouraged that from happening because we are too concerned with how we will look in the picture? Worried the lighting will reveal our wrinkles. Our hair isn’t styled. The outfit is unflattering. I could go on and on.
Here’s the deal, moms—if you are loving your kids and have a smile on your face that is beauty worthy of being captured in a photo. In my case, I think it could’ve been a keeper. The evening light, the blue water, saltwater waves in my hair, two smiling faces. I wish he’d taken the photo.
Each day of our trip I went in the hotel pool. We floated, swam, played, and laughed. Fun memories without any pictures to prove it. I blame myself for that. I’m so glad I didn’t let my insecurities rob me of the good times we had but clearly, based on my husband’s perceptions, I have some work to do. This picture reminds me to ask for the picture to be taken and perhaps more importantly, not to cringe or primp or complain when I’m not sure I do.
From here on out I want to worry less about looking perfect and more about feeling happy. That feeling will overshadow any perceived imperfections and you will look beautiful.