Today, in honor of my son’s birthday party, from my newly set up summer closet I pulled out a cute dress that I’ve been dying to wear. It’s actually a tunic top that many women have to wear with leggings, but I get to wear it as a mini-dress because I’m height challenged. I love the dress because it’s soft and comfortable, the pattern is fun, and it’s green (I love green). At any rate, an hour before the party I threw the dress on and felt pretty good in it. So, I left it on.
I wore it for the entire party, never once feeling self-conscious in it. When the party was over, hubby downloaded the photos. That was when I freaked out. The dress was not nearly as flattering on me as I had imagined it was. I’d just spent 3 hours entertaining 20 people and, now that they were all gone, I could see what I looked like to them through the camera’s eye. Not good.
Depressed and disappointed in myself for being oblivious of the obvious, I stopped looking at the party photos and went to sit on the couch with my family. Finally, with the photos still reeling around my head, I asked my three boys what they thought about my outfit today. Steve, ever positive, said he loved it. Luke said he thought I looked pretty like I always do. (He’s a natural born politician.) I rolled my eyes. I knew they were being disingenuous. I asked for some honesty. Joe gave it to me.
“Well…when I first saw you in it, I did think you looked a tiny bit pregnant.”
“What?” I gasped.
“Not a lot. Just a little,” he hedged, sensing his brutal honesty might have been a tiny bit of a mistake.
My head was swimming. A tiny bit pregnant. As if looking a tiny bit pregnant when you’re not is better than looking a lot pregnant when you’re not. Looking any bit of pregnant when you’re about to turn 44 and are most certainly not pregnant is never a good thing. End of story.
“Joe,” Steve said, hoping to ameliorate the rapidly declining situation, “your mother does not look pregnant.”
“I didn’t say she looks pregnant,” he replied. “I said she looks a tiny bit pregnant. Besides, she told me to be honest.”
I reached down toward my chest, plucked the arrow from my heart, closed my hand over the gaping wound there, and tried desperately to keep from bleeding out all over our family room sofa. I know I am not at my lowest weight ever. I know I haven’t been to as many yoga classes recently as I should have been. But, pregnant? That was almost more than I could bear. I snuggled closer to my new favorite son, Luke, and tried to walk toward the light. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
I realize that I am overly self-critical and my own worst enemy. I also realize that most people at the party probably did not think I looked as horrific as I felt when I saw the photos. I further understand that no one was paying that much attention to me in any case. Still, I can’t help but feel a bit scalded by the truth in Joe’s words. At the very least, I will never again feel the same way in that dress as I did before his comments.
He’s right. I did ask for it. I went seeking their honest opinions and I’m not sure I can fault Joe for offering his, especially when I know that he was right. Still, the entire situation left me with a tiny bit of a pregnant pause.