For the first time, I visited the city that hosts the happiest place on Earth, but I did not visit Mickey. Yet, the entire experience was still magical. Six wives stepped off planes and entered one townhouse. Six mothers bid their children ado for five days.
We visited the beach. We shopped. We fested. We karaoked. We laughed. We danced. For the first time in a long time, we were not wives or moms, we were individuals with distinct personalities, backgrounds, and stories.
But without the masks of motherhood, without the wifey title, our war wounds became a little more obvious. Life had dealt some mighty blows, and we hid them behind makeup. We covered them with our kids. We soothed them in the arms of our husbands. We ignored them as we checked off items on our busy schedules – our children’s sports, recitals, and school work. Because we no longer held the weight of our households on our shoulders, it was more obvious that our posture had changed. We did not sit up as straight.
We bedazzled ourselves with makeup and cute outfits. We turned heads as we walked into rooms and restaurants, but even then, nothing could hide who we were without the makeup. We were not 20 anymore, and it showed, not in the way we looked, but in the way we saw ourselves.
As I gazed upon some of the most beautiful women I had ever seen before, I heard their insecurities. Shocking is an understatement. Did that statement just come from this girl? Not her. One did not wear shorts because of the dimples in her legs. She IS the girl that other girls want to be. Her beauty is almost overwhelming…but her shorts are never too short, not because she is a mom or a wife but because of dimples that only she can see. Another refused to buy any new clothes until her body looks the way she wants it to look. I had to turn to prevent her from seeing my mouth drop because I have never seen girls who look like her make statements which sound like that. She has curves in all of the right places accompanied by a beautiful face and an even more beautiful personality. If she cannot shop then NO ONE should be shopping.
And I stared down at my pooch. I wondered how much longer bikinis would be appropriate…and belly shirts…and short shorts. I touched my hair that did not wash and go quite as easily as the other girls, that did not have as many “go to” styles.
Without the noise of children, we heard our thoughts.
I was not impressed.
Then, I began to hear new voices louder than those of our children. “Are you crazy?” “Have you lost your mind?” “You look amazing!” “You are gorgeous!” “How did you get your hair to look like that?” “YAAAASSSS, hunty!” “You better slay!” “Work it!” “Where did you get that romper?” “Yes ma’am.” “Get it girl.” “If my body looked like that, I would wear _____________________ too.”
It was beautiful to hear – the sounds of moms without all the makeup encouraging one another to embrace reality. As moms, we trained ourselves that we only look good in our makeup. By makeup, I did not mean powder or eye liner or mascara. We made ourselves up when we hid behind the lives of our children. We made ourselves up when we hid behind the careers of our husbands or all of the functions we did (and did not attend) where we preferred to blend into the background.
Eventually, though, we could no longer hide. Our insecurities screamed when we no longer had our makeup to hide behind, when 40 was closer than 20. We left who we thought was beautiful in the crib with our new born, in the first steps of our toddlers. Stretch marks and spanx replaced mini dresses and tanks. And we criticized the girl in the mirror. She looked like a mom, and that mom over there is beautiful, and so is that one, but not this one. This mom is just a mom.
So for five days, I watched and happily participated as moms without makeup looked at other moms without makeup and smiled and uplifted.
Yes, you are a mom.
No, you are no longer 20.
…it seems you have forgotten. You are ordinarily extraordinary.
Go back to that mirror and take it all in. It appears that you did not get a good look. Your eyes. That hair. That outfit accentuates all of the right places.
Your beauty is a gift. Motherhood is a gift. Marriage is a gift.
“The gift it looks good on you…The gift it looks good, and you wear it well. God has graced you, and you wear it well.” (Donald Lawrence)
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