I saw her walk from the fitting room holding a fist full of bathing suits. She thrusts the heap towards her mother, scowl upon her face. As she passes, her shoulders slump and tears threaten to fall.
I want to tell her that we all feel this way sometimes. The slump in my own shoulders took its permanent hold when I was about her age, when I towered over the boys in my class as I suspect she does in hers. It was around this same place in my life that my own mother and I would argue in the mall about the shoes I would buy to cover my size 12 feet – her wanting the good, supportive “old lady” shoes and me just wanting to get the hell out of the Naturalizer Store.
I watch her stomp away and I want to call after her, It will all get better…
But that would be untrue. I cannot deny the moments in my not so distant past (yesterday) when I looked in the full length mirror and wished, if only for a moment, for a smaller frame. Or the times I have walked out of the shoe store empty-handed cursing the length of my feet.
“It means you have a strong foundation,” I can still hear my grandmother say.
Unfortunately, a strong foundation is not high on the list of attributes a teenaged girl seeks in herself. Strong foundations allow us to throw a ball really hard. They help us to reach things on the top shelf. Strong foundations carry our weight and help us to bear the weight of others when needed.
But strong foundations do not often fit into cute shoes.
As she passes me by, I make a wish for her. I wish that she will find an appreciation for the things her strong, healthy body allows her to do.
I wish her the knowledge that the strength she carries in her shoulders will someday carry her.
I wish the same for me.