On becoming my mother, part 2

I picked the Gort up from school last Thursday. As I steered the van home, silently contemplating how we might spend the (very) long four-day-weekend, the boys steered the conversation to swimming. ‘Can we go to the beach?’ the Gort asked. I explained, as I had a time or ten previously, that the beach was very far away. And maybe this summer we could try to go to the beach. Somewhere. ‘Can we go swimming,’ the Hen downgraded the request. ‘Like, at the pool?’ I clarified. ‘Yeah!’

‘Mmmh, okay…..maybe this weekend,’ I hedged. Because I recognize that little people enjoy splashing in water. But taking small people to the pool means I have to wear a bathing suit, which I liken to wearing a billboard around my neck. Emblazoned with the words: ‘PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT MY FLAWED SHAPE! REALLY! I INSIST!’

Also, I don’t like to swim.

Sure, I grew up in a warm climate. And we actually had our very own swimming pool. But I’ve never loved trying to get from one end of the pool to the other. It’s just so…..tiring.

If our oldest cherubs wanted to go to the pool, the professor would have to take them, I concluded. Thus, when my better half returned home later that day, I begged ‘can you put on a bathing suit and take the boys swimming? They really want to go to the pool.’ He looked at me. ‘I’m not putting on a bathing suit,’ he protested. Vigorously.

A heavy cloud of mother-guilt descended upon me. These little children wanted nothing more than to splash around in a pool, and I couldn’t buck up and wear a spandex billboard for an hour?

I vowed….to find a swimsuit. Pronto.

My quest, if one can call it that, was a random one. As in, we were standing in the middle of Costco on Saturday afternoon, selecting a pair of Crocs for the Gort, when I saw a pile of swimsuits behind me. I found a black one-piece, in my size, and put it in the cart. At home, I tried it on. Too short.

Because I have a long torso and one-pieces never fit me well. (Unless the bustline is supposed to skim….the navel?)

A couple of hours later, I happened to be in the Superstore with my two oldest sidekicks. So I checked out their swimwear selection. I found a black one-piece, in my size, and put it in the cart.

In the off-chance that it was slightly longer than the Costco version.

It was not. In fact, it was exactly the same length as the first one. As though swimwear manufacturers all over the world have agreed to exact length specifications.

I looked at jcrew. Which had lovely swimsuits. For long torsos! But they weren’t cheap. And I’d have to pay shipping. And spending more than $100 on something I’d wear…twice…seemed wrong. Also I needed it now. Not in ten days.

On Monday I happened to be at the Chinook Mall with a friend. We ventured into swimco. ‘Do you have any suits for long torsos,’ I asked the twentysomething salesgirl who likely wore a bikini and loved it. She assured me they did and proceeded to dig through the racks, trying to look for said suits. The choices were dismal. ‘What about this one,’ she asked, holding up what can only be described as a swim…dress. My first thought was: burkhini.

‘Um, that’s a little too….mom-like,’ I declined as graciously as possible. ‘I like it,’ she sputtered, thoroughly put out, ‘thanks a lot!’ As though I’d just insulted her….instead of the other way around.

I shuffled off to the dressing room with yet another black one-piece swimsuit. I tried it on. It looked as good as a piece of spandex could, so I bought it.

By the time I got back to the car, I had a severe case of buyer’s remorse. The suit was expensive. And it was black and slightly boring. Suddenly I recalled my childhood disappointment…over my mom’s sensible one-piece.black.momsuits. I’d always wished she’d wear something fun! Colorful! Cool!

So I decided to return my momsuit. Except, when I grabbed the receipt, my eyes landed on the return policy:  ‘due to hygienic reasons, all swimwear sales are final.’ Final?! I’d owned the beast for fifteen minutes, what could I have possibly done with it?

So for now, I’ll wear my sensible and figure ‘friendly’ billboard. But as soon as this one goes on sale, I’m snapping it up. Because frankly, I can’t imagine I will look markedly worse in bright orange spandex.

6 thoughts on “On becoming my mother, part 2

  1. Okay, I guarantee you that you should be more concerned about the suits that are being tried on and put back on the rack than those that go home and are returned. I would have attempted the exchange, simply because you had not even left the parking lot.

    I know the struggle with picking the suit that does not scream “poor body image”. Your childhood memory was the best. You did not remember how she looked in the suit. Only what the suit looked like. Your boys will remember only that they got to pour water over your head, rather than you being a safe distance from the pool, fully dressed.

    Enjoy the pool! Frolic!

  2. Realized on Tuesday morning that my suit had a hole (thank-you water slide) and lessons started in an hour. Slipped a pair of board shorts over it and voila!
    Is 12 years enough time that I don’t have to think of the husband when I purchase a bathing suit? He still has dreams of a bikini. Not after 4 kids thank-you very much!!

  3. Good news is boys don’t care how their mom looks. Can’t make them care. Girls are different. Bronwyn has already said things like, “Mom can you go and put a prettier shirt on?” On this topic you can be very thankful you are raising a pack of boys! This is one true blessings.

  4. I’m with K on this one. Board shorts are like manna from heaven – slip a colourful pair over your black suit and voila…”something fun, colourful, cool.”

  5. Board shorts…I’ve begun my search! Roberta, Jason told me the same thing – that boys don’t care. But it’s actually more about realizing that ‘sensible black’ won’t make me look markedly better than something fun!

  6. Nicola, the j crew ones are on sale now! I bought the ruched halter one-piece because I signed Henry up for a swim class at the same time Addie was taking a class. And then realized it was a mommy and me class. I went from thinking I’ll have a lovely half-hour break where I can sit and watch my kids from a distance and look at a magazine, to realizing I have to wear a swimsuit every Monday morning for the next 7 weeks while Henry splashes water in my face. But the ruched swimsuit totally made the class better!


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