Magic in the New Year

“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.

Just Mom.

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.

25 thoughts on “Magic in the New Year

    • It’s absolutely about perspective. David and I were just talking about that today. How we have to remember to see the shades of gray in other people if we expect them to recognize the shades of gray in us. And, by shades of gray, I mean everything is not always black and white. Not Christian Grey. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  1. My dear niece, what a write! Such talent and such content that hits the nail on the head. Don’t ever forget to take care of you, who takes care of the rest! Loving you from afar!

  2. This post totally speaks to me. I’ve been mom too long, and I’ve been grieving mom too long – using that as my excuse for everything. I need to make a list of who I want to be in 2014 and not use “mom” as a reason not to be those people.

    • Kathy, seeing in ourselves the things others see us is what I was thinking when I wrote this. And it’s never been more true than in your comment. I don’t see you as grieving Mom. You buried your baby. It’s the unthinkable for a parent. Every time you write about Joey, you dare to access all of those feelings of heartbreak and loss all over again. You keep his memory alive with his brothers. I know you’re not trying to be an inspiration, you’re just putting one foot in front of the other and walking a path that you never dreamed you’d have to walk. For what it’s worth, I think you are outstanding. And resilient. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2014!

  3. I make sure to take the time that I need for myself to do the things I’m passionate about like working out and writing–things that make me shine. But that gets hard with work and two kids–I imagine it’s even harder with 4 kids! Here’s to hoping you get to focus on yourself more next year!

    • Shay, it feels like something (or someone) is often slipping through the cracks. And it seems to be getting harder instead of easier. Maybe I’m just getting older and tired! Thanks for reading!

  4. Ok not related to your post, although, as usual, I loved it…but I wanted to share with you as a fellow mom and fellow runner the tragic story of another mom and runner who was struck by a drunk driver Monday morning while getting in a training run with her husband. Subsequently, she was killed and leaves behind 3 young children. You can probably just google Meg Menzies to get many stories, but I thought you’d also like to know that our community is rallying around the family and running in her honor on Saturday. This effort has now reached other parts of the country and world. You can also learn more on FB by searching Meg’s Miles Supporters. Sorry to high jack your post with such a sad story, but as a mommy and runner myself, I can’t shake the feelings of sadness since learning of it. Meg was 34.

    • Krissy, I am haunted by what happened to Meg. Haunted! The outpouring of love and support from the running community in Meg’s honor was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for thinking of me to spread the word! Hope you are well!

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