“Mommy, will you look different?” I told my middle child about my plans to have surgery about 3 weeks ago. I told her first because she’s the one who worries about her mama. She’s naturally a leader protector and I wanted her to be able to process. I didn’t want her to worry about this surgery. My last surgery was quite traumatic and debilitating. In her mind, surgery takes her back to the age of 4 when her mommy couldn’t get out of bed, bend down to pick her up, or help her tie her shoes. I assured her that this time would be different and that I’m doing this so that in 20 years, I don’t have all sorts of medications and complications related to diabetes.
“But mommy, will you look different?”
“Yes, honey, I’ll look different. I probably won’t have a double chin and I’ll fit in different sizes. But I’ll still have my crazy gap tooth and I’ll be the same.”
“But I like you the way you are…”
Tears, from both of us. “I like me the way I am too.”
I struggled with the plan to have surgery as my girls are entering their formative tween-teen years. I don’t ever want them to feel like being thin should be their ultimate goal. I want them to be healthy. If that means they have a little chub chub, so be it. The growing process is hard enough without the constant barrage of not-enoughs. They’re not going to get that from me, at home base. Home base will be their safe place.
The other two were not worried once I told them, because my middle child assured them, “Mommy will be fine.” They took her word for it and moved on, like, no biggie. If my middle had gotten upset, the others would have been too. Since she was as cool as a cucumber, they followed her lead.
Bravery. Fearlessness.Perseverance. These are some of the internal qualities I hope my children learn from me. Rather than focusing how I look, I hope they can see what it took to get there. In their own struggles, may they have the courage to be brave.