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I didn't know I cared…
My daughter Beth is turning 40 in July and we are having a family reunion of sorts at a lake house in Wisconsin. Robb and I, my son Richard and his son Jordy, Beth’s half-brother Nicholas and his partner Amanda, and Beth’s father Fred and his wife Trudy and their daughter Maddie will all be there.
I haven’t bought a bathing suit in years. When necessary I wear an old tankini top and a pair of Robb’s bathing trunks–all very shabby chic and looking like I don’t care. I also don’t wear shorts anymore.
In March we went to Mexico on spring break and I wore this boob and tumy reducing bathing suit I bought years ago. The condo we stayed in was all windows and mirrors and there I was reflected, in all my old, square dumpiness, into infinity. Oy vey, as my grandmother used to say.
I noticed that most of the women on the beach and in the pools—old, young, skinny, fat, white, brown, black–wore two-piece bathing suits, appearing to like and enjoy their bodies a lot more than I did. One day sunning on the terrace in my bra and pants, I caught a look at myself in the glass and thought “I look better in my underwear than I do in that hideous bathing suit.” So when I got home I went through the catalogs and ordered a new suit.
The package arrived and I was all for sending it back unopened. Robb was unexpectedly curious and even excited. “Come on, open it up, I want to see how it looks on you.” There was even a moment when we each had an end of the package and were tugging on it. So I tried it on. And then I took it off, wrapped it up, and mailed it back.
It took a few hours for me to realize that this whole exercise in vanity was because I would be spending time with my ex-husband and I wanted to look good for him. We were married when we were both young and beautiful. But I’ve grown old with someone else and so has he.
If I go anywhere near the lake, I will be wearing a t-shirt and pants.