This afternoon my second-born child walked up to me, rubbed her hands across the stretched skin of my belly, and asked, “Is this your leftovers?”
My children are rudely innocent when it comes to body image comments. I’ve done my best to treat their comments with unconcern, when they mention my “squishy bottom” or that I still look pregnant I will usually respond with a vague chuckle or a, “Oh, you think so?”
I don’t want them to grow up in this thin-obsessed world with an idea that their value lies in the circumference of their waist or whether their legs are long and tan. I know that my reaction to my own body is the number one influence they will have for their own body image.
So today when Dos asked me about leftovers I made a choice to let the first flash of embarrassment wash over me and wallow in an intentional choice.
“Yep,” I said cheerfully, “these are my leftovers. They remind me of how lucky I am to have you four kiddos. I wouldn’t change them for the world.”
I want to own that stretch mark across my belly button because it’s a leftover from the only pregnancy that carried a boy.
I want to own the scar on my knee because it’s a leftover from the time I fell while pregnant with Bubby, carrying Tres, after a fantastic BBQ with friends at a local park.
The dark purplish scar along my lower stomach is an intense memory of the c-sections that brought me the first cries of each of my children, and the comfort of holding my husband’s hand as we met this little being we had a part in creating.
My imperfections, with conscious decisions on my part, can become valued possessions. Mistakes I’ve made, scars I display, quirks I have… they’re ok. They’re useful because God doesn’t waste experiences.
My leftovers are beautiful. They are memories, they are vivid reminders of who I was in contrast to who I am today.
What leftovers do you need to redeem?