As I look down at my soft, pudgy thighs and tug at my swim skirt, only one thought is on my mind: I hate public pools.
Elizabeth splashes around with the total abandon of a 4 year old. My husband tears off his shirt and pokes his white stomach for a second, then shrugs a little “meh” before diving in. But I sit in a lawn chair, paralyzed by the sight of my thighs blazing whitely in the sun, swearing that I just want to watch—from behind this large beach bag plopped on my lap.
I watch my daughter and remember the days before puberty when I ran around in ruffled bikinis and spent all summer in a pool. I could open my eyes underwater… swim to the very bottom… propel myself out of the deep end within seconds and chase friends around the slide… I grimace at the thought of running around now (in this braless swim dress? pfft!) and cover myself with a big towel.
I watch a clump of moms walk past—trim and brown in their tankinis—and seethe enviously. I think I hate them more than the teen girls loudly screaming when guys pull their bikini strings. I adjust my straps and round my shoulders, even more aware of my white lumpiness.
“Mom! Come in!” Elizabeth screams. My husband squints at me. “Aren’t you hot?” I shake my head no, and I see annoyance flash across his face—and disappointment on my daughter’s. I can’t explain to them that my limbs look like marshmallows, that the swim suit that looked cute at home morphed into a laughable muumuu, or that I’d give anything for my jeans and a real bra.
I look around the pool and catch another mom—a normal mom—wearing a cute swim dress. She’s holding her child’s hand in the shallow end, ignoring the Tankini Moms, ignoring the shrieking teenagers—ignoring her own thighs. She’s laughing with her toddler, encouraging her to go a little deeper.
I look down at my towel covered body and feel ridiculous—and hot. Who the hell cares about my egg carton thighs? Who cares if those moronic bikini-pulling boys smirk? I’m missing the chance to teach Elizabeth to swim underwater!
I stand up slowly and force myself to look at my daughter, not my jiggling cellulite, and climb down the pool ladder.
Related post: The Moms You Meet at The Pool