“Oh, this looks fabulous on you! It looks so good that it should be worn just like this! Don’t put a shirt over top of it!”
The sales girl claps her hands together. She is in her mid 70’s. Her name is Magic. She stands back and admires her customer’s reflection in the mirror.
The customer is my sister. She also looks at the mirror. She smiles…more at Magic’s suggestion than at her own reflection. She wears her favorite gray comfy sweatpants, brown Uggs, and a fire engine red bra…hand-picked by Magic herself.
In her reflection, my sister sees a ridiculous ensemble…sweatpants and red bra. She sees a stomach that looks great for having birthed 3 kids, but could use a little toning. Magic sees something entirely different. She sees beauty in the soft curves that age has not yet marred and claimed.
“That red bra was made for you,” Magic continues. “Don’t ever cover it. It looks beautiful. Everybody needs a gorgeous red bra. Now, you’ll need a pair of red panties to match!”
“Oh, Magic, I don’t need red panties, but thank you!” my sister argues.
Magic won’t have it. She is already out of the dressing room, calling, “Please, you’ll break my heart! They’re on clearance for $2.15 a pair. I’ll find you a pair!”
“What are you, some kind of athlete?” he asks his client. He is a trainer at the gym, and it is 10 minutes into a grueling 30 minute workout.
The question catches his client completely off guard. And a little off balance. I am his client. All of my strength and concentration focus on maintaining my form while hoisting a heavy kettlebell over my head.
“So, you’re an athlete?” he repeats.
I stammer an answer, “Um, I guess. I mean, I was. Or I try to be. I do my best. I just have a lot of kids now. So…”
He shrugs, “You look like an athlete. Some people would be insulted by that. I mean it as a compliment.”
I smile, “It’s actually pretty much the nicest thing you could ever say to me. Is class over? Because I would love to leave now on this high note.”
I come home and look at my reflection. And I see Mom. Only Mom. Not athlete, not writer, not wife, not daughter, not sister, not friend.
December has taken every ounce of me. Every day has been about someone else. Swept up in the chaos of the holidays, I’ve forgotten about me. All the parts of myself that come together so uniquely to make me Bethany have been put on hold.
It’s as though I’ve forgotten to shine.
Tomorrow begins a new year. I hope it’s a special one…
A year of brand new red bras with matching panties, worn with absolutely nothing else.
A year of looking at our reflections and seeing what others celebrate about us.
A year in which we remember…every month…to nurture who we are so that we may shine.
A year that brings magic.
Or, as in the case of my sister, Magic.