Wednesday, August 19, 2015

hello again.

Before bed on Sunday night, I went through my whole closet. I pulled out anything that reminded me of postpartum compromises and pumping milk. I piled skirts with busted zippers and shirts I resent ironing. The bags were bursting and the hangers looked lonely. I took pictures of what remained.

Monday morning involved a bottomless cup of coffee and eggs at my favorite coffee shop. I wrote for fun and slowly made my way through lists and mail piles until my laptop died with grace. Then I wandered toward the mall.

Five things. I used the pictures on my phone to decide what five items would make my wardrobe feel new and versatile and...mine again.

A saleswoman rapped on the dressing room door to ask me if I needed anything. I realized I'd been sitting on the bench in that small room for awhile, just facing the mirror. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been in a mall dressing room. It had been years since I'd tried on wild skirts for sheer amusement. And so I sat completely lost in my reflection, relishing big feelings until the woman knocked a second time.

These weeks of vacation and continuing education would be about slowing down in unexpected places. They would be stretches of time apart from a schedule and demands. They would be opportunities to honor myself away from my callings of pastor and mother. And, because these things are so rarely attended, they would be filled with startling realizations and heaps of gratitude.

When I finally stood, I twirled in a skirt I have no occasion to wear. But it looked fabulous. And in it, I thanked my body for the people I've made and the years it has so generously shared itself. I started to cry tears of grief - that stage of my life is over. My body is all mine again.

And when I was done shedding the sadness that comes from saying farewell to something that beloved and well enjoyed, I cried tears of relief. I am happy to have myself back. I am ready to see and love myself for the sake of her independence again. My physical being is familiar but also brand new. I am curves and tones of who I have always been, but I am also very shaped by these childbearing journeys and the sacrificial love I've discovered in becoming both broken and reclaimed.

I'm glad I had an enormous mirror for that moment. Because she is marvelous and I wanted to see every bit of her when I smiled through glad tears and whispered, "Hello again."

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